Megan's Head

A place where Megan gets off her head.

What’s in My Bad Mood?

I have woken up with a rage hangover this morning. I am still fuming about my night last night and I am not really sure where to even begin.

Let’s go with why I was motivated to start meganshead in the first place. I wanted to warn Capetonians about bad theatre (and cheer them on to see good stuff, it must be said). Now this one is particularly hard for me because of how I feel about The Kalk Bay Theatre. It is categorically my favourite theatre in Cape Town. It is independent, beautiful, brilliantly managed. It is where I love to see theatre and make theatre. I want the theatre to do brilliantly.

But now I need to say what I feel about the first half of the show that opened there last night, “What’s In a Name?”. And here is a warning; if you loved it, do not read further, because I am going to be saying some very harsh stuff.

Right up front, I was absolutely relieved to discover that there were two halves. This meant I could leave at interval without making a spectacle of myself. Everything I say will only be about the first hellish forty or so minutes, but I swear it is enough.

What’s In a Name is trying to be a cabaret(?) performed by Delray Burns and Roland Perold and directed by Garth Tavares, and apparently choreographed(?) by Delray. What it actually is is a completely random collection of ‘trying to be funny’ songs that have nothing to do with anything, including the meaningless title of the show. What it is trying to be is a showcase for two young performers (like a live showreel to offer what they can do), but what it becomes is a beyond irritating, badly sung, horribly characterised, cartoon version of itself. Hell on an audience, not in the least funny, and so badly done I was squirming in my love seat in the back row. Fifty Delray costume changes later (a light up bra being the only highlight, ‘scuse the pun), a hideous “lights up” audience participation section where I could not hide my disgust in the dark, a complete mafferation of two songs I usually think are quite clever, Henry Higgins from My Fair Lady and Coward’s Don’t Put Your Daughter on the Stage Mrs Worthington, and other tragic, inconsequential, murderously bad versions of other stuff (including Snoopy I think!), meant I had to escape.

I feel I need to explain here. I concede that there is often stuff that is “not my cup of tea”. I don’t get big, mainstream musicals. Yet, I can totally appreciate them (and have even loved one or two) when they are well done. It is true that a collection of random show tunes is not that cup of tea that I would choose to drink, but I am entirely capable of drinking it, and enjoying it, if it is just warm, sweet and well made. “What’s In a Name?” is not that cup.

I am going to lose friends here. Brand new followers of meganshead on twitter are going to be upset. Friends of the performers in the audience last night were “loving” the show, and even tweeted me about it. I am going to be branded a bitch. I am going to set myself up for the harshest criticism of my own work. I wrestled with whether I was going to do this at all. But when I woke up at the crack of dawn this morning and saw what a friend had inboxed me on facebook, and realised she felt the same, I felt I had to speak out. Sies. What’s In a Name? In this case, absolutely zero, zip, niks.

Then, on my drive home (just to put salt in my wounds) I happened to flick the radio on to 567. The minute I realised it was Kieno Kammies I should have switched to 5fm for some retarded pop, but I was negotiating Boyes Drive and didn’t change in time. The moron was introducing what was going to be his late night topic; a ‘scientific’ study where caged monkeys are going to be fattened up so said scientists can study obesity. Kieno thought this was a great idea because, and I quote, “have you seen the fat kids rolling around the lawns?”. I. Kid. You. Not. Kieno Kammies thinks that caging and force feeding monkeys (natural omnivores quite capable of maintaining their own healthy weight) and fattening them up is going to help us understand why children are obese. Maybe Kieno, they are obese because they are caged, overfed (usually with unhealthy processed crap that monkeys would never eat) by their parents, bored and under-exercised? I actually could not listen to him for one second more. I had fantasies of finding images of his own children, hoping they were as fat as houses, and then using them in my own experiments. The drive home from KBT is long when you are having these murderous thoughts while listening to Rehane singing …”sticks and stones will hurt my bones, but whips and chains excite me” as if she wrote those lines herself! Bah. Humbug.

 

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25 Comments

  1. That’s why I love reading your blog, though. You love theatre enough to say what you really thought. And you don’t pull punches.

    I always want to say nice things (esp about Indie theatre), but if you have THAT strong a reaction, you’ve got to say it. I’ve only done it once, but I’m so, so glad that I did (in fact I still sometimes re-read it for courage…and a giggle!).

  2. megan

    Thanks Clever. Still feeling the fallout of having to do a hard thing though.

  3. cait

    I don’t understand how you listening to bad radio can be blamed on “What’s in a Name” or it’s cast members. If you’re going to absolutely slate something at least stick to reviewing the show, or at least the half of the show you actually saw otherwise you may run into the dangerous territory of just sounding like a moaning, bitter cow.

  4. pity there was no rebecca black on to REALLY make your drive home a good one.

  5. megan

    Oy Cait, check out the heading of my post, which suggests that I was in a bad mood. Then I go on to explain why. I in no way blamed bad radio on the horrible show. And yes, I understand the risk of sounding like a moaning, bitter cow, but my sense is that you were hurt by my “absolute slate” and have knee-jerked into a really silly snipe.

  6. JerryRob

    So perhaps then, in future you should not be seeing shows of a musical cabaret calibre. It is blatantly obvious that you misunderstand the genre and the style. However, you are completely entitled to your opinion. As is everyone else. The difference being that your opinion is regarded widely as a respected one and I personally think it is highly abusive of you to write a blog like this, slating (because that is what it is, enough said) two new performers making their debut on the stage, clearly knowing the influence your opinion can have on their careers and the rest of their run. I personally did not particularly enjoy the show on Wednesday night, ’tis not my cup of tea either. But to be as abusive and bullying as you are, shows a certain inadequacy as a critic on your part.

  7. Dominique

    It’s an unfortunate fact that theatre-going is not a part of South African social culture. Reading your mudslinging attack ( I mean review?) It saddens me beyond belief that we do have a culture, it seems, of being able to support and promote each other. You claim to be a theatre lover… I must question this, and perhaps you should too.Using your voice and influence to have a huge negative effect on the run and careers of these two actors demonstrates a love of power and your own cynical opinion.Thank you for making sure that the few people who could have been introduced to theatre and supported the arts will not be attending. Thank you for using your respected voice to smother the new beginnings of a creative infant.and please, don’t pretend ripping this show to shreds was a ‘hard thing’ for you to do. The relish is clear in every biting line..let’s be honest here!
    Your bad mood does not justify the ugly truth that you have failed as a reviewer here. Perhaps next time, think before you spew.

  8. Dominique

    .. My bad… I meant we clearly have a culture of NOT being able to support and promote each other… Yourself being a perfect example.

  9. megan

    JerryRob, I understand that this was not a debut performance for Roland. And just so we are clear, I am not a critic. I have a blog, where I review shows I see. Some people agree with me and some don’t.

  10. megan

    Dominique
    Thanks for your comment. Let’s take this to a robust debate.
    1. How would you have liked me to respond? When I see young people doing what I consider to be brilliant work I rave about it. Take a look at what I said about CLAN, a few posts down. Why should I have made excuses for horrible work?
    2. Thank you for seeing me have such power and influence as to make or break young careers. I hardly think that’s the case though. How many times have you read what I’ve said about shows and then gone to see them or not?
    3. I am not a teacher or a friend. This is not drama school, it’s a professional space. And I do not want this show to be how people get introduced to the theatre because they will never come back.
    4. My responsibility to myself and to those who read what I write is to be truthful. Sometimes this can be very painful. I know that, which is why I controlled myself.

  11. yeah, instead of slating the messenger who was giving her honest opinion about the show, perhaps looks at the points she made and ask if they were valid or not – megan is a lover of theatre and when she loves a show she completely gushes about it on here and she loves supporting local work and artists – maybe it was just a bad show? and if it was bad then why damn with faint praise? megan said why she didn’t like it – maybe those issues are not issues for other people but at least you have something to go on if you are considering watching it.

  12. JerryRob

    I apologise then. I stand corrected on that detail. My sentiments, however, regarding everything else, remains unchanged.

  13. bob

    i can’t afford to go and see every piece of theatre that’s out there. i rely on other people’s opinions and recommendations before i spend my hard earned money and my precious time. yours is one of the opinion’s i value.

    i’m glad that you’re opinionated and passionate, and that you love some things and don’t others. for me that shows integrity.

  14. Simon Cooper

    OK, just so you know I declare an interest – together with my wife, I own and operate Kalk Bay Theatre. While this fascinating debate was unfolding, I was, literally, on the road, so I only got to read it properly this morning.
    I saw the show and enjoyed it but as I am biased, let me quote 2 comments thus –
    [01] Extract from an email sent by one of KBT’s most loyal supporters –
    “Thank you for last night – it was a lot of fun – from the first song to the last! And to have another ‘showbiz’ couple hit the circuit – and all so talented – hmm, maybe they could unite to make a blockbuster sing and dance show – be a pity to waste so much energy and talent”
    and
    [02] from the KBT website –
    “My wife and I attended your show last night, What’s in a Name? The first for us at Kalk Bay Theatre. What an amazing, energy filled production by two top professionals, Delray and Roland. We were really thrilled! Really top class”

    We all know the quotation “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” – it is often attributed to Voltaire but it is probable that he never said those exact words. They were written in 1906 by Evelyn Beatrice Hall (pseud. S. G. Tallentyre) in the biography “The Friends of Voltaire” and she used the words to sum up Voltaire’s attitude. For my purposes can I please substitute the words “disagree with” for “disapprove of”. Megan is a frequent frequenter of KBT and we respect her opinion and she is entitled to express it here and elsewhere. We don’t have to agree with it and Medgan will in turn respect that.
    Come see the show and make up your own mind.

  15. DinahDoll

    This blog, for me, seems to be a lot more critical on Delray’s part. Roland and Garth are only mentioned once.

    I didn’t understand it at first, but last night I went to go see the show and I understood why.

    Delray is gorgeous, thin and blonde.
    Of course Megan Choritz would despise her.

    And the show she is in.

  16. Coco

    OK, that was personal, spiteful and entirely unnecessary, Dinah Doll, doll.So what did you think of the show? You failed to mention that. Did you consider it polished, professional, slick, entertaining, funny, moving? Or is it good enough that Delray is gorgeous, thin and blonde? And are you able to compare the performances in this show with any you have seen on any other stage? If so, could you give some examples.

    I was at opening night and I’m afraid I found the show neither polished, professional, slick, entertaining, funny, moving or anything else that a musical revue SHOULD be. It was, in my opinion, bad.
    I have worked in theatre for 26 years and still make my living especially working on musicals, which should qualify me to comment, unless this now makes me too old? Based on my experience I can tell you that if Roland or Delray had to perform anything from “What’s In a Name” as an audition piece, their application would not be set aside lightly but hurled across the room with great force, to misquote Dorothy Parker.
    I have also worked on many musical revues and it strikes me that performers who successfully brave this genre are those that have already made their name, even if just a little bit, in a professional musical and/or play or two, for example Anton Luitingh, Jonathan Roxmouth, Jenny Stead,Lindy Abromowitz, Paul du Toit, Robert Finlayson and Angela Kilian, to name a few.
    While Roland and Delray MAY have talent, although the jury is still out on this, the show they have put together to, presumably, showcase this talent, is not fulfilling the objective.
    It’s just not good enough.
    This is not an assassination of anyone’s character or, heaven forbid, looks. Maybe we could call this argument “When Bad Theatre Happens To Good People”, without resorting to low blows that have absolutely NOTHING to do with Megan’s review of a show.

  17. megan

    Thanks Coco, I personally couldn’t bring myself to reply! Haha.

  18. Fair Lady

    Firstly I would like to say that I attended the show and thouroughly enjoyed it. Yes there were 1 or 2 songs that I didn’t enjoy as much as the rest, but as for the most part it was very entertaining and appeared to be greatly enjoyed by the audience.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but by the tone used you are clearly out to slate the cast and their show. You did not provide one encouraging word! The fact that you didn’t even bother to stay for the second half of the show should dis-entitle you from giving an opinion – and so the fact that you state it was a hard opinion to give is a whole lot of bull! In fact you were in a bad mood from the start. We had been warned about you and your “moody opinions” and so we watched you! And the prettier Delray’s costumes the grumpier you got! You couldn’t even muster up a smile when the Kalk Bay owner (or whoever he was) made a joke about you in the beginning. So go and sulk…. but I think you were sour from the start and should think twice about giving an opinion when you only watch half of a show!

  19. megan

    Fair Lady (I guess there’s no pun intended and you are also blonde, thin and gorgeous), you spell it ‘thoroughly’. And the ‘whoever he was’ is indeed the owner of the Kalk Bay Theatre, Simon Cooper. See his comments above.
    And one last thing, you don’t get to tell me what qualifies me to have an opinion, just like I don’t tell you. Oh, I have spent too much time on you already.

  20. Fair Lady

    Well from your response you have just proven that DinahDoll’s comment was valid and that you are attacking the actress because she is blonde and beautiful. Oh well I suppose there will always be jealous people out there! I used the name Fair Lady because I think my comments are fair. Do not be so focused on outward appearances!!

  21. Coco

    Oh for crying out loud, Fair Lady, Dinah Doll, whatever you want to call yourself, get over yourself/selves. If there were ever poor deranged souls obsessed with outward appearances it has to be you/all of you/ whoever you all are. The show was, to discerning theatre-goers, way way way below par. I watched both halves – it got worse! Please tell us what good theatre you have seen recently.It will help us all to know what your benchmark is. I am a first-time reader/contributor of/to this blog and hope that all comments are not as inane and vacant as those of Dinah Doll and Fair Lady. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE SHOW?? Not “What relative of yours is in the show?” or “How pretty were the performers? Come now! And anyway, if you’re going to go hating all reviewers who slate your 2 pets,get used to it! Bad bad bad. Also more time and breath than should have been spent, that’s it.

  22. Fair Lady

    haha! It sounds like Coco is actually Megan disguised as someone else. And to your question WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE SHOW?? I stated that right in the beginning. Perhaps you were so busy picking on my spelling of the word “thoroughly” that you failed to notice?!

  23. Gosh, this is turning into a better spectacle than whatever show inspired it! I love reading Megan’s reviews – the rave ones, the ambivalent ones, the I’m-still-thinking-and-will-need-to-let-it-percolate ones and the furious ones. Thanks for stoking the flames of the debate everyone. As long as everyone can keep getting this impassioned about theatre, it might just stand a chance…

  24. Simon Cooper

    Wow !! girls and guys, this is getting a bit hectic. Debate on a piece of thearte is good but when things get this nasty and this personal – not good. Again for the record and as far as KBT is concerned, Megan [who I know to be a beautiful person] is entitled to her opinion and is entitled to express it.
    Others disagree – for example :

    “Quality cabaret by any other name” …..”a light-hearted journey through names both mad and mysterious” – Tonight / The Argus

    “Dit is ‘n klein vertoning met bruisende energie wat dit die moiete werd maak om die ompad na Kalkbaai te ry” – Die Burger

    “I have never seen two people work so well off of each other’s energy – it was almost contagious – and when they began to sing, well I was lost to the world of names and their humorous ways of portraying them ……….. get your tickets quickly” – BizCommunity

    “the winning recipe for fun entertainment that is amusing and illuminating ….. the pace [is] tight ….allowing the performers to share their robust energy and sincere charm with the audience” – The Writing Studio

    “a simple and yet very enjoyable show ……… the perfect way to escape the mundane of life and just laugh at the madness that it sometimes produces” – YourSoapbox

    Enuff said

  25. wow megs, just saw the rest of this now, i would be very surprised if fair lady and dinah doll are not Twilight fans, that is all. ha ha, and i thort i got crazies to my blog, oh wait i do… but it’s a blog and that’s the point – we all like stuff and we all hate stuff – simon has shared enuff examples to show some people liked it and we’ve had two comments here from two people who really didn’t and THAT IS OKAY! when it starts becoming personal attacks is not and just shows your ridiculousness up and that is the beauty of a blog [altho the commentators are anonymous and the writer is not] – that your comments will prove to the readers what you’re made of – i’m with lisa, this is entertaining and i saved money on the show…

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