Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Catch Me If You Can: The Musical (Guest Reviewer Tom McGrath)

Let me spoil the ending of this story for you: Catch Me If You Can was a catastrophically uninteresting way to convey interesting material.

The Lady of the House and I went Downtown for an Evening Out. On a Friday. You know, like Normal Adults Who Live In, Say, Barrington might. (However, They probably drove their Volvo and paid many Dollars, whereas we took the Brown Line, because we are not Cowards. Workers, put your bodies on the Gears, and all that. But I digress.) We even went to dinner at La Madia, after considering and discarding Rock Bottom, because, as I said, we're attempting to hold off the Icy, Creeping Hand of Suburbia. And because it was crowded.

Here, I divert from the ostensible narrative and criticism of Catch Me if You Can in support of La Madia: they give you free Prosecco if you sit at the bar bit where you can watch people make the pizzas and salads and whatnot. Also, we had a delicious crisp, fresh salad to start - everyone should roast their grapes and that is not a euphemism - and followed that with a goat cheese pizza with prosciutto. The wine list was more than sufficient, the portions were sizable and well-presented, and all that good stuff that Padma et al talk about when they're not talking about Failures of Leadership or whatever on Top Chef.

Again, forgive the digression. (I digress, because I am loathe to talk about Catch Me If You Can, as it is difficult to describe a yawning, black expanse of Absence.) (Though I think I may have just done so.) (Anyway.)

Here's where our story takes a turn: the service was perhaps not the most brisk, and we were perhaps running a bit late. PERHAPS I saw a crostada being prepared in front of us for another table and PERHAPS I had an Old Fashioned (also recommended at La Madia, by the way), and PERHAPS I ordered that and had a 15 minute walk ahead of me, and therefore had to inhale a dessert (certainly above average, though I would've enjoyed a warmer pastry), stuffing several crumbs into my inelegant gob as we exited the restaurant.

Oh, I'm going to have to talk about this play now, aren't I? Well... we walked down Clark Street, and made fun of each other and passers-by, and we laughed at how I pretended like buying movie tickets for her parents when we were visiting was an act of Great Largesse... I got made fun of for my crostada. Which again, I do not regret.

In any event, we arrived at the Cadillac Palace where, as we climbed up to the furthest reaches of the building, we passed several deep lines at the concession areas. Yes, Consumers, purchase Cocktails: they will be required, if for nothing else, as an excuse for why you can't remember anything that happened in this noisy, bright, energetic quantum singularity of a musical, which may be remembered as beautiful while trapped inside the single atom of existence, but no light will ever escape to aid in the retelling. We found our seats just as the curtain grudgingly trudged up. The tune: catchyish? I can hum four notes for you, probably in the right order. The lights: extremely luminous. People were on stage! They were terribly energetic! There were kicklines! Empty, vacuous kicklines! Earned by ... I don't know! Just have a kickline to distract the masses from the Encroaching Darkness! 

The girls seemed pretty! The guys seemed handsome! (Though, due to our cutting-it-closeness, we just grabbed seats in the last row, so the girls could have been cleverly constructed bags of eels, and the guys could've been manatees in suits.)

(Don't steal that. That's my idea now.)

Listen: I saw the movie. You saw the movie. Your mom saw the movie twice, because it only has a little swearing in it, and Oh, But That Leonard Caprio Fellow Is Charming, and Tom Hanks Is In It! And That Unsettling Guy, No, Not Willem Dafoe, the One Who Talks Weird - Did You Know He Was a Dancer, No Not Christopher Walken. Oh, Yes! Christopher Walken. Yes.

Some of us read the book.
Some of us thought that the movie or the book would translate strangely to the stage, but whatever, it's the 60's! You throw a couple of tunes in - I'm always game for an orchestra on stage, by the way - and a couple clever chase-y bits, and away you go. The guy committed escaped custody twice before he was 21. He spent his late teens posing as a pilot and committing bank fraud. COME ON, HOW IS THIS PLAY SO BORING? How? Nothing is memorable. The actors will all get work forever, because they either have legs or pipes or just have that thing where there's no compunction against throwing themselves 110% into whatever multi-hour noisy 60's-ish-themed Zumba class they get paid to put on.

Note: Please, pay me to throw myself into a brightly-lit non-event with a bitchin' jazz ensemble.

Everybody is super-energetic and is clearly working really hard, but it's like you wanted to bake cookies, and took out all the ingredients, and made sure they were just so, and then, instead of baking cookies, you put all of the ingredients into the oven, and then buried the oven in a quarry somewhere, and when people asked where the cookies were, you found a lady to dress up in a Sexy Swiss Army Knife costume and shine bright lights in your eyes, and hand you a adorable, if dumb, puppy. Named "cookies."

You might ask, "What happened to my cookies?" And some guy would give you horse tranquilizers and throw you into a cab.

Full disclosure: we left at intermission. Be good. Hell, be bad, just don't commit the sin of being dull, because I have too much shit to do.

- D

-Tom McGrath


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