First of all, I missed my blogging week, which Shanti has chastised me about a lot and so I already feel quite guilty. Anyway, this will attempt to give you a brief summary of the British TV series Downton Abbey and the London Palladium production of the Sound of Music, which I watched on Saturday.
The Sound of Music
If you have never watched the movie: you should, because it has a simple, feel-good plot with amazing music composed by rogers and Hammerstien. It is about a wealthy Austrian widower and his 7 children, whose lives change as Hitler attempts anchluss and a new, enthusiastic governess for his children arrives from a convent. It has everything a musical could need… a love story, dancing scenes, adventure, and a good dose of fun.
The live musical was even better than the movie: The singing was amazing. I wouldn’t say that the actress who played Maria (the governess) had as good a voice as Julie Andrews, but altogether the singing was far more moving. Seeing something in real life made it far more relatable. The set was amazing and beautifully designed. There were extra songs that weren’t even in the movie, and some of the songs were shuffled around to give Lesley Garret, apparently a famous opera singer, more time singing. The production was heartily enjoyable.
Favourite character: Gretel, the youngest daughter, who is so, so cute, and was pretty good at singing as well!
Pros: It was fun, easy to watch, adventurous, exciting, and easy to follow. Also, the live orchestra was amazing! It was so cool to see a conductor conducting perfectly in sync with the actors.
Cons: Rolf wasn’t that good at singing, and it was very small (read: I was sitting far away from the stage), the plot was occasionally a bit slow moving, and is was occasionally a bit too cutsey. Also, if you didn’t know much about the time when it was set (late 1930s when Hitler was trying to join with Austria ) then the second half didn’t make much sense.
This is a short summary and will fail to wholly describe the amazingness that is Downton. Basically, it is a television series that follows the Crawleys (a family of nobility) who live in York, in a manor called Downton Abbey. It begins in 1912 and follows them right through the Great war to the 1920s. It has lots of main characters,(including Michelle Dockery and Elizabeth McGovern who I’m told are slightly famous) and one the best things about it is that it focuses on the lives of the servants equally as much as it focuses on the lives of the nobility. They have financial issues, complicated love lives, power struggles, existential crises, and all sorts of other drama. It is clearly hard to describe but it is such an amazing TV show and so intricate and detailed about life in that time that it is almost like actually enjoying history (just kidding, I actually do enjoy history)
Favourite Character: Violet, the Crawley’s grandmother, who gets away with a lot of sassy comments and scathingly sardonic remarks because she’s old, and is extremely funny
Pros: Interesting, beautiful setting, amazing costumes, well written, lots of round, engaging characters, complicated.
Cons: You have to pay attention to know what they are saying, sometimes you can’t keep the characters straight, it’s hard to work out whats going on in a world so different to today’s.
Next blog I will write about Apple and Rain, which I recently read, from Pt. Chev Bookshop. One sentence: Jaqueline Wilson with a more complicated plot, more interesting and rich characters, and very realistic situations.