I was immersed in the world of musicals when I was growing up, and as such I grew up with an excellent working knowledge of songs and dialogue from many of the musicals you may have heard of (and probably some you haven't). A sentimental favourite musical of mine (because it was the first one I performed in, when I was in Year 7) is The Pirates of Penzance
. My love of this show was timed perfectly with the Australian stage version, starring the delightful Marina Prior in her first ever professional gig.
I'm not ashamed to admit, therefore, that I've always had a bit of a crush on Ms Prior. She is beautiful and an absolute honey ... not to mention so extraordinarily talented that it makes my brain implode.
Seriously, the voice on that woman is astounding. Her good nature and good humour set her apart from many other performers, as do her positive attitude and impeccable integrity.
So when Wifey and I decided to celebrate our upcoming sixth anniversary early (the actual date is 7th July, but we couldn't help ourselves -- and we also had to arrange for Wifey's parents to babysit), it was an obvious choice to buy ourselves tickets to see Guys and Dolls
at The Princess Theatre at today's 2pm matinee.
What. An. Amazing. Show.
We had a great time, and the A Reserve tickets we got were fantastic. We were in the Stalls (no balcony seats for us!), Row J, Seats 34 and 35. That's right on the outer edge of the aisle, in case you didn't know.
I know others (including RichardWatts
) didn't like the show, but we loved it.
The acting from Prior, as well as Garry McDonald, Lisa McCune, Ian Stenlake and Shane Jacobson, was superb. I was grateful that Magda Szubanski was unwell and did not appear, because she was cast as the 'heavy' gangster (no pun intended, honestly) from out-of-town, there to menace and threaten and generally be a figure the other characters were meant to be afraid of, so the idea of a woman playing a man with a false suit and a gruff voice just didn't appeal to me. In fact, I wasn't looking forward to that aspect of the show at all, because I knew it'd "break the fourth wall" for me and really burst the bubble, destroy my suspension of disbelief, and other similar terms of phrase like that.
The rest of the cast -- particularly Wayne Scott Kermond as Benny Southstreet -- was also fabulous, and the show-stealing number towards the end of Act II, "Sit Down, You're Rockin' The Boat", gave us both chills.
I've been singing the songs all night (a sure sign that I loved every minute of it), and want to tell everyone I know to go and see it.
But you know what the last impression is that I have? The one that I can't shake and will be with me until my dying day?
Marina Prior's right breast, which I saw in perfect profile for several seconds from my side-angle vantage point during the Act II opener, "Take Back Your Mink". Now, I've seen Guys and Dolls
four or five times, but I've never seen a version of the show where Miss Adelaide and the Hotbox Dancers actually
strip down to nothing but their briefs, and shimmy to the beat while facing the back of the stage (in full view of the surrounding ensemble cast members on stage, no less -- wouldn't you think it'd at least be a 'closed set'?). I was stunned. I was gobsmacked. I had a funny feeling in my tummy.
I also wouldn't have expected them to be that colour ...
But anyway, Wifey told me afterwards that the six Hotbox Dancers revealed just as much of themselves to our gaze, but I honestly couldn't tear my eyes away from the glorious vision that awaited me when I feasted my eyes upon my Prior convictions.
(I don't even think that last bit makes sense, but why stop now, just when I'm clearly enjoying myself so much?!)
Nah, clearly I'm exaggerating a tad. We loved the show, and the unexpected sight that had the 14-year-old BEVIS inside me whooping with excitement was a bonus. Yes, they were
definitely topless (with not even 'pasties' to cover themselves -- why, I do not know), and we did
see exactly what I claimed to have seen.
And it will
be an image I take to the grave. (But only because Wifey's gonna kill me when she reads this post.)
Happy anniversary, darling!