Tom and I arrived in 2016 before most of you! We spent three weeks over the New Year in Sydney and New Zealand. How un-American of us to take such a leisurely vacation, but when you go that far it makes sense to stay as long as you can and to see and do as much as you can.
Our first week was spent exploring Sydney. I faced my fear of heights and white-knuckled the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb. Don’t let the pic on this post fool you — I am shaking in my boots! But, I put on a good face, tried NOT to look down and enjoyed the climb down the most. Actually, it was more terrifying watching other people do the climb while on the ground. But when in Rome…. I am glad I did it and have the pics for proof.
The rest of our time in Sydney was occupied by La Boheme at the Sydney Opera House, seeing Geoffrey Rush as King Lear in the Sydney Theatre Co.’s production, touring the Blue Mountains and enjoying the summer weather in the Southern Hemisphere.
After a week in Sydney we were off for two weeks of driving on both the north and south islands of New Zealand. The second badge of honor was earned driving on the LEFT!!! Mind you, it took me a good two days before I got behind the wheel. It took a lot of concentration and Tom’s shrieks of horror and pleads of “keep left, KEEP LEFT!!!!” were most helpful.
And to cross the width of the south island we boarded the Tranz Alpine Railway from Greymouth in the west to Christchurch in the east making it a perfect trifecta! Planes, Trains and Automobiles!!
Last night Tom and I went to see the new stage adaptation of “Misery” with Laurie Metcalf and Bruce Willis and I can honestly say it wasn’t miserable. I have to applaud the producers for their courage in staging a thriller for the Broadway stage. It hasn’t been done in a LONG time and it is a difficult genre to pull off, especially in live theater. We all like to get scared, but it seems easier on film with dramatic lighting, a spooky score and not knowing who or what is around the corner or on the telephone extension “in the house”. And while this production did have all of that it tends to be a bit clunky on stage.
Now don’t get me wrong, there were a couple of moments where I actually screamed like a girl. But, in taking a film such as “Misery”, that was brilliantly performed with deadpan humor and steely fright by Kathy Bates, I wonder, are we scared of what we know is coming? And is it the memory of the film that makes us scream or what the actors are actually doing on stage. A couple of other Broadway shows fall into this category, the much anticipated flop “Young Frankenstein the Musical” and “Roman Holiday”. In “Young Frankenstein” I kept thinking am I laughing at what I am seeing on stage or my vivid memories of the film? And with “Roman Holiday”, also a musical, I just say WHY??? Such an iconic film and the entire audience was waiting for Audrey Hepburn to come out on stage.
All of the heavy lifting, literally, was done by Ms. Metcalf. Her Annie Wilkes was nurturing, funny and off the charts unstable. Usually when we are scared, or nervous or uncomfortable what do we tend to do? Laugh. But the humor in her Annie was deadpan funny and well placed. The one territory that she only skimmed the surface of was threatening. Her moments on stage were welcomed, as a matter of fact when she left the stage the production literally stopped cold. (Read between the lines Mr. Willis)
I also want to applaud the stage craft which was impeccable and truly well done, I don’t want to get into the specifics because they would be HUGE spoilers. I also thought the set was brilliant, which sometimes is my code for they play was a flop, but not so much here. To craft a full house on stage, on a turntable and structure the house so the entrances and exits and the rooms all functioned like an actual house was refreshing.
I would recommend seeing this production not only for Ms. Metcalf’s outstanding performance (come to think of it I haven’t seen her in a bad turn on stage yet) but to experience something on stage that isn’t rapping or tapping you into a frenzy.