Culinary Disasters & Musical Masterpieces

Feeling a bit peckish – inexplicably so, as I’ve been stuffing my face off and on all day – and too lazy to nip round the chip shop like any right thinking person, I popped a chicken tikka lasagne ready meal in the microwave, and as I had some sauce and seasoning left over from a fajita feast I cooked up last week, I decided to pour/sprinkle these on the lasagne.

What’s the worst that could happen?

Well it looked rather like road kill on which a large dog had taken a dump and didn’t taste very good either, so it went in the bin after a couple of mouthfuls, and I now have a horrible aftertaste in my mouth and am probably, at best, going to spend part of the night hunched over a sick bucket. At worst it will prove to be like one of those odd potions you get cropping up in horror stories now and then, and in the morning someone will find a pool of foul, liquid putrescence lying in the centre of my bed.

This was worse even than the time I discovered that, while lager and black is an eminently fine concept, shandy and black is not.

Later this week I am to meet Ms P for Avenue Q and I’ll give her back some DVDs I’ve been borrowing, including the Les Miserables: In Concert – 25th Anniversary Edition, and so I had a Les Mis weekend, playing my own 10th Anniversary DVD on Saturday night and the 25th on Sunday. I’ve seen the musical twice, many years ago in London and a touring version in Norwich last year, but watching these DVDs really brings home how good it is. Every song is special, with lyrics that convey mood and feel just as much as sense, and the music is superb, from first rousing note to last. It really does make you feel like going out and manning a barricade.

I have doubts about certain aspects of the story though. It seems incredible that Javier is so obsessed with Jean Valjean, and yet doesn’t recognise him on at least two of the occasions when they meet, and yes, greasy as the Thenardiers are, there is something slightly dubious about the idea of a grown man turning up to take a young child off their hands. Most inexplicable of all to me, is why that knucklehead Marius is besotted with Cosette when Eponine is so much worthier of his love. You need a woman who’ll fight alongside you, not some poor little dear who has to be protected.

I must grudgingly admit that the 25th Anniversary DVD was the better of the two. The O2 setting, with its huge stage and audience had more about it in the nature of spectacle than the smaller confines of the Albert Hall, where the 10th anniversary was staged, would allow. And Alfie Boe was a better Valjean than Colm Wilkinson, though it might be thought sacrilege in some quarters to say so. It seemed to me that he had a greater range, a more manly voice at times as needed, whereas with Wilkinson the high pitch that worked so well for “Bring Him Home” was the way he sounded throughout, and for many of the other numbers it simply wasn’t convincing to have this bear of a man sound like that. And I loved the bit at the end of the 25th concert when the original 1985 cast came onstage to stand and sing alongside their modern day counterparts.

My 10th edition did have a bonus DVD though detailing the makings of Les Miserables, and a fascinating story it was too. It seems the critics panned the show on opening night, which just goes to show reviewers know squat.

The musical was based on a novel by Victor Hugo, of whom I believe Cocteau once said, ‘Victor Hugo is a madman who thinks he is Victor Hugo’, but then, Cocteau said a lot of things, and as far as I know nobody has ever made a musical out of any of his books 🙂

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