the gods would be terrified

image by dan in deutschland

i went to see a new production of hedwig and the angry inch last night (at the greenside church) starring jamie firth of w4 productions and i found it…
admitedly meh is still better than the utter eat-your-own-eyeball horror that was the 2005 production by ‘it ryhmes with anus’ janus productions, but it’s still just not quite good enough.
i hadn’t realised that hedwig was showing this year, and as it was the second last night i thought what the hey, i might just toddle along…

the good bits:

  • an interesting take on the costume, though closer to secretary barbie than anything else, with a black pencil skirt, red satin blouse and red heels.
  • an enjoyable version of ‘wig in a box’ with a good bit more rock than usual
  • a surprisingly visually arresting moment near the end where, rather than the usual undies only, we have hedwig stripped only to the waist and becominging, literally

    the divide
    between East and West,
    Slavery and Freedom,
    Man and Woman,<br /
    Top and Bottom.

the bad bits:

  • the performance was static to say the least. the delivery was perfectly competent and the singing actually very good (the band less so) but there was no emotional connection. rather than the viceral blood, sweat and tears that kevin cahoon gave in the first uk tour of the show this hedwig was throwaway and rather stiff. insolent rather than angry. whether this was a deliberate directorial direction or an inability to move in heels i’m not sure but it didn’t pull off for me.
  • an interpretation of the ‘wicked little town’ reprise that i thought was really off the mark. rather than moving moment of unity/apology/forgiveness/wholeness it came over as merely sarcastic and bitter. there was no absolution or conclusion for this hedwig.
  • the makeup was terrible and the wig clearly a party shop special. given the ‘warm hand on her entrance’ hedwig’s look is hugely important and there really hadn’t been enough attention paid above the neck.

on the whole not a terrible show, not even bad just a little hum-drum. more a good amatuer performance than a bad professional one – but at £9.50 a pop, that’s not really enough.

report card says: could do better.

giving you some hed:

john cameron mitchell (writer, director and star of original stage version and film)

artwork by emily hubley used in original stage version and film


2 thoughts on “the gods would be terrified

  1. aye here’s what i told emma about it in the morning. i honestly fucking hated it, my biggest problem was definately the make up, i’ve seen stag nights in drag do a better job.

    ” hedwig at the greenside, edinburgh festival 2007 starring jamie firth. – i reluctantly went last night, however the review must have been for a different show as it sounded threateningly good.

    same venue as last, undressed set, no bar.

    3 band members walked on stage without costume, just random contemporary “trendy” clothes.

    hedwig came through the side door, threw the cloak off and my heart sank.

    shite cheap wig

    make up done badly in 5 mins, ugly guy, bushy painted over eye brows, and his painted on eyebrows were 2 squint black lines, and he kept doing this fucked up lip move for the whole show.

    i really wish the guy had at least video’d himself doing the show or had someone saying “see that fucked up weird shit you are doing with your lips after every sentence, please stop it, its horrible and very distracting”.

    he couldnt walk in the heels….so didnt!, he hardly fucking moved for the whole show, he wore a black skirt and a red shirt.his idea of rocking it up was the odd light tap of the toe in the harder numbers.

    to his credit, he got the scripts and delivery was good, if a little stolen and short on the effort.

    the band was a three piece and weren’t good at all, the sound engineering was appaling.
    it sounded empty, under rehearsed and very very sessional. and the snare drum was waaaaay too high, absolutely whincing and deafening.

    the band where late on cue on every song and ruined some really good moments as a result, and there are parts in the script where hedwig shouts at them in german… how about the band being on the ball a bit more as “performers” and even though looking bored, maybe actually having some direction that actually merited the outbursts from hedwig, i know there aint a lot for the angry inch to be doing during her pieces but, thats theatre dahlings, wake up a bit eh? i notice she had to actually turn round and snap you out of it each time, could have almost been deliberate direction, if so, bad choice, if not, you are just shite.

    his tommy gnosis wicked little town was sang with sheer spite and sarcasm completely destroying the depth of that whole section and missing the point.

    the changes made to certain singing inflections were badly chosen and a crap attempt at “making it their own” like just extending the odd word here and there. it wasn’t even good enough to call it smart arsed.

    i hated it from the first minute. and oddly was nervous about seeing it in case it ws brilliant.

    a tenner a ticket too!

    what a pisser eh? why do folk keep doing it, its not as if its a piece of piss, why do folk keep assuming it is when they could be slapping a bit of alan aykbourne on instead?”

    oh… and the fucking staff needed shot! why the fuck do elephantine stagehands have the strangest idea that they are capable to tip-toe and creep about like ninjas all the way through the show? they fucking arent! you noisy interupting cunts need to really think about that, or at least asign the role to someone more nimble, there is nothing worse than some dumbo like human being doing that tight wee face as they tiptoe on creaky wood reallly slowly, why fucking bother? its the equivelant of the cunts that chew their crips and pocorn slowly in the cinema as if they thing its less intrusive, all it does is make us concentrate on it even more anticipating every slow crunch, you wait for the loud bits, or in hedwig’s case you wait for the songs or somthing.

    hedwig is a fucking excellent show, people should be given an examination before being granted performing rights for it, as its fucking dying.

  2. why do folk keep doing it, its not as if its a piece of piss, why do folk keep assuming it is when they could be slapping a bit of alan aykbourne on instead?”

    oh god no – that’s the last thing we need.

    many true points well made though. i elected not to mention the weird mouth thing but…yeah…rather distracting.

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