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That James thing

I left for England on Friday morning, calling in sick from the airport since I'd forgotten to book the day off and knowing Jobsworth would not have let me go without 3 weeks advance notice at least. For some reason, security was tight and I only just made my plane, having had to take off my boots to show I wasn't planning on anything nefarious. Cass came to pick me up and I spent the day in the bosom of her family, admiring her new kitchen and her daughter's witch's costume for Hallowe'en.

The next morning, we left Kent for the capital and met up with bogwitch at the Holborn Bierodrome, where we had a lovely lunch before checking into our swanky hotel in Southwark. Lisa decided to take a room there too, and then we just hung out till it was time to get to The Blackfriar to meet up with frimfram and others and sort out the tickets. From there, it was a 2 minute walk to The Mermaid theatre and James Marsters's Words & Music.

He came out to adjust some chairs on the stage and the audience, consisting mainly of women both young and old(er), went wild. Steve Himber appeared on stage next to remind us of the rules -- as this was a theatrical performance, we were asked to behave as at any other play, and then James, dressed in black jeans and a t-shirt, together with an American actress called Cheryl somethingorother, launched into an adaptation of the Scottish play; basically some key scenes between Macbeth (James) and his good lady wife (Cheryl), linked in narrative style by James again.

And it was good. Except for an unnecessary (IMO) Hallowe'en stage laugh at the beginning, James put down a very believable Macbeth, despite the transatlantic American accent, expansive gestures, and looking very much like Spike on occasion. Afterwards, they took 10 minutes to discuss the play with the audience, and James told us how he thought of Lady Macbeth as her husband's equal rather than a bitch, and Macbeth himself as a warrior and a traditionalist rather than a wimp, which is how most Americans seem to interpret the roles. He also said that given the chance, he would cast a strapping young actor in the role of Banquo, rather than the comfortable older man that is so often picked.

After the interval, he returned on stage to play the guitar and sing all the songs from his cd except for Patricia. And I suppose the word to describe this part of the performance was adequate. He is not the world's best singer, but he does have rather a nice voice. He isn't the world's best guitar player, but he knows enough chords to get through a 3 minute pop song. He's not the world's best songwriter, but at least he's not afraid to go out there and perform his music. 99% of the audience thought it was fantastic and screamed themselves hoarse, giving him a standing ovation at the end again. Personally, I didn't detect much improvement since his gig at the Carling Academy back in April, and I was quite frankly bored throughout, but that probably reflects more on me and my tastes than on him. He did try, bless him and his cotton socks. But again, I would characterise his music as samey and bland, and lyrically and musically quite limited. But the smaller venue did work in his favour, I must say.

calove had to catch an early train back home, and so it was just me and bogwitch for breakfast this morning (full English for me, Continental for her), but all too soon it came time to say goodbye and while she went on her way to Finchley and her car, I took the Gatwick Express to the airport and ultimately, home.

All in all, it's been a wonderful weekend.

Comments

( 42 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
love_by_137
Oct. 30th, 2005 08:13 pm (UTC)
I knew two people at that event this weekend and I got two different reviews ! The other girl, being a BIG James fan said it was brilliant and some of the music bought tears to her eyes. I think I would have been leaning more towards your review ! Whilst I do love the guy, and he is extraordinarily talented acting wise, the music ain't great ! But props to him for getting up there and doing it. Glad you had a good time ! XXX
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 08:46 pm (UTC)
I'm well aware that mine is a minority view when it comes to judging James's musical ability, but I can't help it! He just doesn't cut it for me.

His acting though, is fabulous. I've wanted to see him on stage for the longest time, and the wait has been worth it. Now, I want to see him in something contemporary -- but given that he's just accepted a leading role in a movie, it's probably going to be another long wait before hell return to the stage as a theatrical performer.
bogwitch
Oct. 30th, 2005 09:06 pm (UTC)
I suppose we were the missing 1%.
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:08 pm (UTC)
On reflection, perhaps more like 0.1%...
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quietlychaotic
Oct. 30th, 2005 09:18 pm (UTC)
*waves* Hello: )

What a surprise to see you last night, I had to *poke* you to make sure that it was indeed you : )

The words bit impressed me, however spokeshade with an American accent takes some getting used to (my bad!)

Steves Q&A was funny: )

The music bit, is still not my cup of tea really, but he has improved a lot and is entertaining. Lyrically ermmm he still needs to work on it, but then what would I have to giggle at? Lines like 'She has the sweetest strawberry wine inside' classic, just classic *grin*

Take care and good luck with the whole job/redundancy type thing.
bogwitch
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:13 pm (UTC)
Oh thanks. I'd blanked out the 'Strawberry Wine' forever.
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gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:15 pm (UTC)
What a surprise to see you last night, I had to *poke* you to make sure that it was indeed you : )

And poke me you did! It was a surprise for me too, seeing you there -- but since you were working, I guess you had the better excuse! ;-)

Steves Q&A was funny: )

One of the evening's high points, certainly!

Lyrically ermmm he still needs to work on it, but then what would I have to giggle at?

Or me, to puzzle over: 'She's an angel/and she can't sit'...which I was told later, was actually, 'She's an angel/and she can't see it' (but I like my version better).
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anonypooh
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:19 pm (UTC)
the "theatrics" sound most excellent ... ;) the singing .. I will still remain forever ignorant (in a blissful way?) lol

yay for most excellent of weekends!
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:56 pm (UTC)
The singing...in all fairness, I don't think James deludes himself that it's anything more than a hobby, or into thinking that he could have a career in it, but he does seem to enjoy it and for that, I commend him. Technically, his voice has improved over the year and a half since I first heard him; but his skills as a writer haven't gotten any better and I don't think they ever will. Lyrically, he's very limited in his subject matter: it's all about girls and they did him wrong, or girls and he did them wrong, or girls and something or other went wrong somewhere and 'Damn, you men are all the same!' The one song that's slightly different, his Birth of the Blues, is terribly pc which to me comes across as terribly insincere...Mostly though, the music is all the same 3 chords and 8 bars; but thankfully all his songs are short...though that doesn't help much when he's up on stage for an hour and there's no way to shut him up.
meko00
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:37 pm (UTC)
You know, as I told db2305 once, the only reasons I'd want to see JM in the flesh would be to see him for a short while acting on a stage, and to ask him how he managed to write so many autographs being lefthanded. And, B., being the adorable woman she is, took care of the second reason. ;-) Listen to him sing? And hear those lyrics? And see his skeezy underage girlfriends? Please no. *shudders*
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
the only reasons I'd want to see JM in the flesh would be to see him for a short while acting on a stage,

I hope you'll get your wish one day. He's a really good stage actor, who clearly loves what he does, cares to do it well, and is articulate about his craft too.

For me, 50 quid was a lot of money to be spending on a severely abridged version of Macbeth, but I do believe I got my money's worth on the first half of the show. Pity I couldn't ask for it back after the second, though...;-)
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enigmaticblues
Oct. 30th, 2005 10:47 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you had a great weekend. It sounds like it was a lot of fun.
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 11:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, it was -- the best bit being meeting up with all my lj-buddies again!
miss_fairfax
Oct. 30th, 2005 11:00 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, James's acting as Macbeth sounds interesting - I take it he's still trying to make his own film of it? Glad you had a good time though.

BTW - Glasgow piccies are up in my lj!
gamiila
Oct. 30th, 2005 11:08 pm (UTC)
I take it he's still trying to make his own film of it?

I don't think he'll ever give up on that particular dream of his...though ehh had to admit, when asked, that it had been relegated to the backburner once more.

BTW - Glasgow piccies are up in my lj!

Are they? Excellent!
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( 42 Speak Like A Child — Shout To The Top )
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