THIRD POST – October 10, 2011 – MERCURY NEWS SERVICE ARTS AND CRAFTS EXTRAVAGANZA – Zooey Phooey Schlechtkase, Special Critic to MNS, in New York.
Those of you living in the dreadful Midwest can only dream of a civilised existence in a cultural centre as rich as New York City. Billy Elliot is one gem of a musical which cannot be simply moved by Allied Transport to Detroit, Cleveland, Gary, or any other of those unspeakable non-destinations in the Oxidation Belt. The set direction, art direction and conception of this visual masterpiece must stay put or lose the patina of genius which infuses every interstice of the stage upon which it is set – in this case: the Imperial Theatre on Broadway. It would be pointless to engage any of our readers in the Midwest in a colloquy whose purpose is to get someone there to drive or fly to the Big Apple to see the play before it is yanked by the merciless moguls of Mammondale, that fictional condominium of sinecures in the Kingdom of Pap where everyone is fat, rich and without a sliver of conscience. The theatre is filled to capacity every night, but this sort of thing goes on for a finite period of time. There is also the threat that the cast might jump ship to gain fame on the silver screen. It would be hard to replace the present constellation of talented and well-trained singers and dancers without causing irreprable destruction to the rhythm and momentum of the production.
Most educated people, (that is less than one percent of the population of Midwest America) know the story of Billy Elliot. Most might even know that Margaret Thatcher was P.M. of the U.K. and that Eastern English people talk funny. They might even have some inkling that the towns of Eastern England are famous for their COAL PRODUCTION!! That the expression, “taking coals to Newcastle”, is entrenched in our pseudo-erudite mental archives. If not! Then stop reading here! You will gain nothing from this criticism otherwise. You are admonished to cease and desist from any further involvement in my artistic appraisals and are encouraged to find some “adult education” programme for English-speakers with very special needs. I will not have any of you blaspheme the Muses by your persistence in acquiring knowledge through some dilettantish, cognitive, osmotic misfire, all at my expense. I warn you.
The story takes place during the reign of that insufferable British quasi-spinster hag, MARGARET THATCHER, a/k/a MAGGIE a/k/a the IRON TERMAGANT. Friend of Ronald Reagan, whose vague espousals of “conservative philosophy” are still being studied today by irrelevant afficionados of syncretistic, soporific, Republican hermeneutics and semiotics, she excelled at bombastic acts of vainglory sending an entire flotilla of British warships, air craft carriers, submarines, merchant frigates, zodiac rafts and herring trawlers to an archipelago of ovine-infested rocks claimed by Argentina as the Malvinas. With the help of the French who sniggered behind the scenes at English obdurateness, the Argentines were able to sink several warships with frog-manufactured Exocet Missiles fired from frog-made Super Etendard fighter-bombers. The British won, of course, thanks to the Americans who violated every clause of the Pan-American Alliance by providing Admiral Nelson and his ship of pirates with every bit of Satint at their disposal. The hapless Argentinians suffered defeat and Crone-Thatcher rebounded politically after her popularity hit a nadir in England. She is now infirm, suffering from some brain dysfunction and believes that the Shah of Iran lives in the stable on her estate in Surrey. It is the issue of her popularity that forms the superficial theme of Billy Elliot. Other themes, much more provocative, will be discussed when I have had my fill of martinis at the local estaminet. I repeat my warning to any of you who should not be reading this! End of Part I.