Glorious!

October 19, 2007 at 5:19 am (Uncategorized)

Llew and I were lucky enough to join his parents and a couple of their friends for dinner and theatre last night in Kirribilli. For those of you not in Sydney, Kirribilli is a fabulous little village directly across the Harbour Bridge from the CBD. It was another “glorious” day yesterday, so after a house-brewed pot at the Lord Nelson pub in The Rocks, Llew and I strolled across the bridge and took in the spectacular twilight harbour scene. We met the others at Stir Crazy, a little BYO Thai restaurant. This place does a roaring trade, it’s always jam-packed and they don’t take reservations (what’s with that trend, anyway?). I’ve been a bit disappointed there in the past, but our food was excellent last night, just the right amount of heat and everything was really fresh and tasty, the spicy duck in particular. Yum. I quite fancy a plate of that right now…

I do have one gripe. I hate bill folders being dumped on the table whilst we’re still finishing up. I really think it’s the height of rudeness, and I don’t care how busy your restaurant is. Patrons should always be allowed to indicate they’re ready for their bill. Departure should be at the patron’s discretion. They should never be or feel that they’re being bundled out the door by an impatient floor staff only too keen to let them know they’re holding everything up. It’s just not conducive to a pleasant dining experience and is often so much more potent for being one’s final impression. I really despise it. And of course because Stir Crazy trucks through customers at the rate of knots, they’re never going to care what I think, it’s of no consequence to them. They just need me to get out of the way. Sigh (“If that were my restaurant…”).

Glorious! is a play by Peter Quilter currently on at the Ensemble Theatre, a great little space you might remember from Rabbit Hole a few weeks back. I didn’t know one single thing about Glorious! and I’m glad. Nothing could have prepared me for it, but I might have mistakenly groaned and thought “Dear God no, not a musical, please, anything but that.” It’s not a musical at all. It’s an extremely affectionate play about a woman by the name of Florence Foster Jenkins, who took on Carnegie Hall and other concerts with absolutely no singing ability whatsoever.

Comedy ensues.

And yes, it is very funny, Noelene Brown’s Florence is really endearing and fun, but it’s hard to dismiss the play simply as “light-hearted rubbish,” as my dear Granddad used to call it. No, there was more heart to it than that, and in her own super-mediocrity, Florence apparently discerned a real gift for music, or at least a real passion for singing. Not content with the shower stage most of us prefer, she took her bad voice on the road. And people loved her for it. Of course they did – I’m sure some people were only interested in laughing at her, but at least in this play she’s generally delightfully unperturbed by the more snide members of her audience. She’s much more interested in the fact that many more people clearly derive pleasure from her performance. And she derives a really life-affirming pleasure from singing. So what if she’s truly terrible? There’s something so noble and lovely and defining about the fact that she did it anyway, to hell with the nay-sayers, of which there’s never any shortage. I left the theatre feeling quite buoyed. What a character she must have been, and how glorious indeed.

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