Irma La Douce on Broadway

I stopped by my parent’s house a couple weekends ago, which my mom, of course, sees as the perfect excuse for a family trip to the theater. Then the stars aligned when a production of Irma La Douce was showing for a limited run during the visit.

Irma2

Pardon me as I use my pointer finger to push my glasses up the bridge of my nose, but for those unfamiliar: Irma La Douce is a musical that premiered in Paris in 1956, then went to London in 1958 and Broadway in 1960 (thanks Wikipedia). It’s about a Parisian prostitute who meets a man she wants to be faithful to, but alas, shenanigans ensue. It’s kind of like Pretty Woman but in the ghetto of Paris, and Richard Gere doesn’t have any money, so he comes up with schemes to keep Julia from selling herself. Plus a lot of other weird plot twists.

My family has been listening to the original Broadway soundtrack from the 1960 production since forever, and have been aggressively campaigning for a new revival on Broadway (in our living room). So the fam assembled at Rue 57, one of our go-to pre-theater restaurants, and then we finally saw Irma in person.

Irma

I will say two things about this production.

1. The orchestra was fantastic. The xylophone was unbelievable.

2. The rest of it left something to be desired.

Most of all, I just wish they had put on full-on French accents for the whole production. The actors often spoke in American accents then sang in French accents, it was inconsistent. I really think they need to watch Gigi and just do a French accent for the whole show like Gaston in Gigi. To be honest, I think most things would benefit from being a little more like Gigi.

At the end of the day, it just lacked the full “je ne said quoi” that a french musical should have. Dis-donc?

The Real Reason

The real reason I went to Milan with my family a few weeks ago was to see my cousin play football. American football that is. I know what you’re thinking: jump back, American football in Milan? Why, yes. There is an American football league in Italy and my cousin is playing for the Milano Seamen (Side note: the mascot names are ridiculous throughout the league).

It rained the night of game, which is typical. Whenever we have seen my cousin play football, a monsoon tends to roll through town. We’re lucky like that. The game was in an old velodrome (a cycling stadium). Lucky for us, the spectator section was covered, unlucky for the players, the field was exposed to the elements.

Aside from the weather, however, the game was quite the fun affair. The crowd was rather sizable, and very invested in the game. It was a fun experience. My cousin was in almost every play on both offense and defense. There are about two or three American players on each team and they get a lot playing time. My cousin made some great plays, and got thoroughly beat up because the American basically have a target on their back. But they were the underdogs and they won. Yay! Here’s a little taste of the scene:the actionthe crowd the cuz post game celebration  program

The London Theater

On the way home from my recent trip to Milan, we made a pit stop at London for a few days, because why not, right? Since we’ve all been to London a couple times already, we didn’t really plan any traditional tourist activities. We rented an apartment in the city (because hotel rooms were through the roof expensive), and we spent the three days walking around, shopping, eating, and seeing a couple shows.  London is of course known for having a theater scene second only to that of New York, so when we go to London, we go to shows.

This trip was relatively brief because it was four days, and two of those days were mainly travel days, leaving us two days to absorb the city. We got tickets for the musical Matilda before leaving for the trip. Matilda is of course a musical adaptation of the Roald Dahl book. And when we got to town we called around to a few theaters and ended up with tickets to The Winslow Boy for our other free night. I believe both of these shows are currently on Broadway in New York, or have been in the near past.

Matilda

Matilda was really fun and creative. The stage was very dynamic, there were a lot of pieces that popped up from the floor to create different scenes. The cast was also impressive because there were so many talented children. I thought the funniest character was the evil principle Trunchbull. She was played by a man with a rather imposing figure. That really made the physicality of the character that much more hilarious. The songs were ok but I’m not running out to buy the soundtrack. All in all, not quite the caliber of the some of the classics, but a very entertaining evening.winslowboy

The Winslow Boy is a straight play which is a little out of the ordinary for me because I usually see musicals. That being said, I enjoyed it. The story line is not a mile a minute, so there are definitely some slower parts, but the actors were good and some of the characters are very endearing. The time period the play is set in reminded me of Mary Poppins, and one of the female characters is devoted to the women’s suffrage movement which reminded me of Mary Poppins as well. Even though it’s not the most dynamic story it does raise some interesting issues. I would definitely recommend it.

The next time you find yourself in London town, see what’s playing! The shows are always great and the tickets span a wide price range. You can definitely find something great to see!