Sunday 22 July 2012

Super Trouper

Among many unusual functions which I have performed was as Assistant Sound Operator some 30 years ago for the Carmarthen Youth Opera's production of Jesus Christ Superstar, a memorable experience including taking it to Waterford to try our luck in the light opera festival there (Mrs Blog helped look after the donkey). I think we came third.

The production was a great success, produced and directed by the late, legendary Elizabeth Evans MBE who had inveigled me into volunteering for my humble role. The part of Caiaphas was taken by Mrs E's already imposing but still very young son Wynne, now known to all as the incredibly annoying voice of "Go Compare!" - you know, the fellow with the moustache in the telly ads. I like to think that Wynne's international success as a brilliant tenor owes much to the deft skill I exercised on the volume knob of his radio mike (then quite a novelty I recollect).

The one damper for me was the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. I know he's popular but I just don't get it at all, finding his stuff all the same and somehow both amateurish and soulless.

This strikes me as a contrast to the songs of Abba with their amazing variety and consistent, timeless quality as performed in the musical Mamma Mia which I am compelled to see in London yesterday. The plot is utter nonsense, essentially a strained confection attempting to make something plausible which fits the lyrics of songs never intended for this purpose, but it can't fail because of the music which is also performed superbly in this production. And, let's face it, there is something about frilly lycra and tottering platforms which warms the heart. So do I stand up to bop with the rest of the audience, mainly forty-something ladies glad-ragged for a big night out with their girl-friends? But of course.


Hafal's colleagues the Samaritans objected to billboards of Wynne's character - voted "most irritating advertisement" two years in succession - in which he was invited to "go jump off a cliff". Hmm. I think on this one they were too sensitive, as I also think are those who have objected to him being blown up by a bazooka in a recent ad. This is crude but harmless enough humour surely.