At the end of January/start of February, Tyler and I went to see two shows in two day’s. As a theatre geek, this should have been fantastic – and in some ways it really was – but there was also down sides. Here I will go into detail about both shows and let you know exactly what I thought and how I feel now on reflection of each.
Please note this will contain spoilers so read at your own peril (I would recommend reading to arm yourself with knowledge before seeing either play, both of which contain problematic content).
On the 31st January we went to see Alice in Pantoland. We had our reservations, Tyler had been to a show billing itself as an Adult Pantomime two years previous and it was absolutely awful, but our friends offered out free tickets on Facebook and who were we to say no?
It was an evening show at Brighton Dome, and we met up with our friends first. When we arrived we paid the ridiculously expensive fee for a few drinks and some snacks, then went to take our seats.
All seemed good when it began. You could tell it was ametur as there was a mix of good and bad singers, and the costumes were definitely… interesting.
It was when the show properly began however that we worked out we may be wanting to leave sharpish.
The main actor, who took on a multitude of costumes and roles, was also the writer of the script and, as Tyler pointed out with mounting dread, he was the same person who had called him out for ‘not being a man’ the last time he had been to see an adult panto. We had hoped beyond hope it was a different group but unfortunately we had been disappointed.
The actor made jokes about trans people, calling trans men ‘those girls who walk around Brighton thinking they are men just because they are in men’s clothing with a mans hair cut’. He made a joke about a hit and run that had happened a week previously, and called black people ‘Zulu’s’. It was horrible. The actor made his political stance clear – joking about every major party except the Conservatives and UKIP. We stayed until the end but honestly it didn’t get any better. There was one good performer, the only person of colour (that wasn’t a British guy who had his face painted and had knitting needles in his hair to look like the ‘Empress of China’). He was a good singer and a good actor, plus he was very attractive which really was an upside!
Over all though I am sorry but I am glad I paid no money to the performance itself. We brought snacks and drinks but thank god we didn’t pay for the tickets.
The second play we went to see we did pay for. On the 1st of Feb it marked three years since Tyler and I first properly got together. We went to London and in the evening we decided to get tickets to a West End show (this was because Tyler had his present of the London Dungeons first but that’s neither here nor there). For a full breakdown of the day, see my anniversary post here.
The play we decided to see was Miss Saigon. Now, I am still listening to the music even today. However, as great as the musical was, upon reading about it I am not completely oblivious and I saw it for what it is. Miss Saigon is very racist and sexist. This was something I had niggling feelings about while watching the show (Tyler pointed out that it was odd that all of the actors bar one had Western accent’s, something I acknowledged but shrugged off at the time). But I did some research and realised just why I felt odd about it.
Through the play the Vietnamese women were all sex workers or victims. All of the Vietnamese men had somewhat questionable morals and all of the American’s were the heroes. In addition, all of the men were somehow in control or rescuing the women.
Now if this doesn’t strike you as bad I will be very surprised. During the Vietnam war not every woman was a sex worker of some description. On the contrary, a lot of them fought to keep their families alive after the men of the household were killed. The very notion of the play existing with these stereotypes is both sexist and racist.
However, as I said, I did enjoy the play. I do feel somewhat dirty for that fact now, but the fact still exists. The songs were catchy, the actors were fantastic in their role (albeit missing the accent’s completely in most cases) and the stage work was amazing (a whole helicopter came down on stage and a car!!!). I am still listening to the sound track even as I write this, and I feel it is a dirty pleasure of mine now.
For a better explanation of the problems in Miss Saigon, please read this post on an external website.
I hope you all enjoyed reading these posts and I am sorry to have to spoil them for people but I feel it important to speak the truth about the problems. If you have anything to add about either or a commentary to my post, please do leave a message below, I really enjoy reading them and will always reply!