October 30th, 2005

gamiila sig #2

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.