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Friday 26th May 2006

As if to put my own real-life theatrical thesis to the test, I went to the actual theatre tonight to see if it measured up to the British Library free version. So I headed down to the Lyric in Hammersmith to see Aurelia's Oratorio.
I have to say that the dialogue at the British Library, although tedious and repetitive and apparently unedited was far superior to that in the real theatre show, mainly because the Lyric show has no dialogue, but that won't stop the British Library players taking the first the positive bit of that quote out of context and sticking it on their poster.
I think on the whole I enjoyed the Lyric show more though. It starts with a Aurelia waking up and getting dressed in a chest of drawers and kind of carries on from there really. Packed full of theatrical magic and visual tricks, it entertains on a different level to the mandanity of real life. It was also enjoyable for me as I was sitting behind a small child who kept making comments like "What the Hell was that?" which was a strangely adult sentence to come out of the mouth of one so small.
The theatrical world turned our real world upside down, with legs being unknitted and arms escaping and running up the curtains and trains travelling through holes in a woman's tummy. On the whole that beat a boring conversation between academics, I guess. But you have to pay, so you have to balance it up yourself.
I like it when theatre makes you think about real life in a different way and my favourite bit was actually very small and brief and unspectacular. It was when Aurelia was given some flowers and went to put them in a vase, but put them in with the stalks sticking out the top with the actual flowers crushed down into the bottom. For a second I was made to think about the way we act in a different way. Why is it that we always put flowers that way up and in a way, wouldn't it make sense to put things that way up - at least to consider the stalks of the flowers and see if there is beauty in them. Of course after a second you realise that it is probably more sensible to put flowers the way up we do. Ther blooms are probably prettier. But it's nice to be made to consider something that you just accept as true or right and to question whether it really is. A change of perspective can make a bit difference to the way we think about things, even if ultimately it just confirms that the way things are is correct. And without the stalks the flowers would not look anything like as good in a vase.
It was also exciting to be in the impressive and large Lyric main theatre because in a couple of weeks I will be performing on that very stage, hopefully to a packed auditorium. I am taking part in a benefit for the theatre with a raft of great comics and music from the mother of my future (as yet unborn) wife, Sophie Ellis-Bextor. It's on June 11th and tickets are already selling well, so do book ahead or you might miss a great night. Details of HahaHammersmith and online booking can be found here. Hope to see you there.

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