Well that was timely. I’d forgotten, but I was booked to go and see Amelie the Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre. It’s a show that was created at the tiny Watermill theatre in Newbury. It’s a staged realisation of that Audrey Tatou film that was part of the movement in popular culture that inspired a generation of bookish single men into believing in the thing that we now call “manic pixie dream girl.” But the thing we might forget is that the film existed before the trope. The story is about stories. It’s a deep and familiar contemplation of how we wish we lived our lives. It’s beautiful. Forgetful. Whimsical.
It’s not necessarily an easy story to stage. Nothing life threatening happens. We’ve been conditioned to expect conflict. But seriously – we don’t need it We really really don’t. We don’t. More like this please. Stories don’t have to be about conflict for fuck’s sake, no matter what men wrote a thousand years ago.
I loved this story. This story is much better than conflict. It’s charming – particularly in these hands. It’s gentle. The ensemble is true. It’s a fine balanced group of actor/musicians, filed to an incredibly sharp point with Audrey Brisson. She’s electric. Perfectly cast, utterly poised. This is one of her moments, and she’s extraordinary in it. How rarely do these things come together? Every word is landed clean clean so clean. It’s not a musical about showtunes either. It’s not tits and teeth and absurd ideals. It’s about more than fifteen ridiculously talented humans showing us the colour of their individual hearts. It’s a work of human beauty, fronted by … a work of human beauty.
I am trying to imagine the process that made this show. Somewhere along the line things just went … right. I think it was an ensemble thing brought on by good production values. The director had faith in his actors, (and the casting was bang on). Turns out I’d run into directoryface before, when my bestie was up in Warwickshire. Nice fellow. Clearly knows his shit and I like him simply because he trusted his company – and his actors – and the tech team trusted him and them too. What a bunch. FTW.
Audrey is so physically adept and so on point that everyone – (and I mean stage management too) – seem comfortable bringing their bravest self in around her. She’s the perfect actor in the perfect part. All those shit questions that you’d expect: “She can’t be flown up repeatedly in the show it’ll injure her.” “She might fall off the piano.” “Why the figs?” – all the questions that come from a place of “no” – they somehow got disarmed. She flew right arm to left arm and was incredibly deft with whatever safety harness she probably had to click and unclick in the process. Her physical aptitude was just absurdly clear. There was no way she was going to fall off the piano. She’s an ultimate Pro. And the figs? Why the figs? The question is the answer. Why? Why not, if you can do it. Beautiful mad wonder. A delight. FIGS.
What a wonderful show Amelie the Musical is. What a strange delight. What an unexpected pleasure. What a night. Buy a ticket you fool. Buy it. But it now!
We all have a choice when we book our evening. Book this. That’s my advice. This is artistry. This is joy. Sure the creative team involve people I trust and love, and the producers are universally the best. So many beautiful humans before you even get to the cast. I have never admired the lighting design so deeply as I have this evening thanks to Elliot Griggs.
Wimbledon. Dublin. Exeter. High Wycombe. Oxford. Edinburgh. Bradford. Leicester. Bristol. Birmingham. Malvern. Manchester. Bournemouth. Glasgow. Woking. Eastbourne. Inverness. Southampton. Reading. Liverpool.
Then the world.
See this lovely show. You’ll smile for two hours. In the interval you’ll find yourself looking forward to the second half. And usually I don’t write about shows I watch at all. There’s plenty else to witter on about.
A WordPress guy messaged me this morning expressing their surprise that, given the proviso that this is fiction, it reads like fact. I told him that fiction is just fact plus opinion, and fact is just fiction plus perception. If I’m a pretend voice then go see Amelie. If I’m a real voice ditto. Maybe I’m cagey about if this is fact or fiction in order to to legally allow inconsistency, and pile into people about vans etc even when I’m wrong. Or maybe I’m cagey because I’m just making all this up as I go along based on fact but heavily skewed towards my own agenda.
Either way, Kate Moss has just shown up at my flat and asked me “Where have you been all my life?”. George Lucas is behind her literally screaming at me “ALL I NEEDED WAS SOME DECENT ACTORS!” And Zuckerberg is next to him trying to persuade me to filter out everything I don’t want to hear and he says he can do it for me in exchange for my transverse colon. Its very easy to say yes but I’m not sure…
Meantime go and make yourselves happy by catching this gem of a musical. So gorgeous. So fun. A great night out and one you would be mad to miss. RASPBERRIES.