Last night we were invited to the premiere of Kiss Me Kate http://www.operkoeln.com/programm/44774/ in Köln by Simon's boss, I'd been advised by an opera singing friend to try and watch the film version first so I did, fortunately it was actually on BBC2 on Christmas Day and I finally got round to watching it on Tuesday night.
It's not a film I would normally choose to sit through, but needs must, and I'm soooo glad I did and so thankful to Chris for his advice, otherwise I wouldn't have had a clue what was going on!
Kiss Me Kate is a play within a play, or I guess, in this case a musical within a musical... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiss_Me,_Kate originally written by Cole Porter in 1948, I wont bore you with the story here (if you want to know more I've made it easy) but the film version I saw was...entertaining, lots of dancing and singing, just as you expect from a musical.
And the German version didn't disappoint - lots of singing and dancing, an interestingly minimal stage set with the orchestra taking up the right hand side on a tiered white stage which allowed interaction between the actors and the musicians (who were all dressed as Tommy Cooper as far as I could tell with shiny purple fezz's on...)
After the show there was a meet 'n greet with the actors because it was the premiere - it's amazing how tiny they all look when they're 'in the flesh' not covered in 3 inches of stage makeup and prancing about on stage, this allowed us to settle the debate about the leading lady, Dagmar Manzel, and her age, and also to admire the male dancers' lithe bodies when clothed...sigh.
Back to the performance...the singing and dancing and general staging were excellent but it was the costume department that stole the show, I don't think there can be a single sequin left in NRW, every single costume was sequined, from the 2 fat naked ladies (sequined fat suits complete with pubic hair) to the classic pierot characters, to the chorus line dressed in cowboy get ups - which for the guys included blue glittery beards (the ones in black reminded me of Russell Brand - not a good thing) and for the girls involved red chaps - without the trousers that are normally worn underneath...there was a lot of buttock on show.
It was like Shakespeare does panto or maybe panto on speed or maybe going along with the Carlsberg adverts http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P7NZRO9uCwU&feature=related, Carlsberg don't do musicals but if they did - what we saw last night could have been it.
It was a great, technicolour show and will certainly have given all the diehard Karnival go-ers food for thought re their costumes for February...