Posts Tagged ‘the Playhouse’

Herge’s Adventures of Tintin at the Playhouse – Saturday, December 8

December 9, 2007

Okay, er, I’m having a hard time writing about Tin Tin, or, more properly, Herge’s Adventures of Tintin, which I saw last night at the Playhouse (which I think has been showing Dirty Dancing or something for a while). Josh and I started out the night a bit buzzed, him because he’d spent the afternoon in a pub, me because he bought me a vodka lemonade before the show started (yay!). As we sat there tossing them back in the basement bar of the theater, I saw a cute little white dog being led toward the stage. “Why, that’s Tin Tin’s dog!” I said, but, of course, since I know nothing about the show I had no idea what his name was. And, well, you know, don’t I just know nothing about Tin Tin – some French cartoon character with a blonde cowlick and a white dog and a taste for the exotic as filtered through the eyes of, I don’t know, the ’30s. But we were looking for light entertainment, so this sounded like about the right ticket (ha ha) especially since the panto at the Barbican was running 30 quid per (gah!, no wonder the Evening Standard and Metro were both going on about “posh Panto”).

The theater itself was gorgeous, with gilded plaster cow skulls (not sure how this works historically) and lovely golden goddesses holding up the lighting equipment. The lights went up and … it was Tin Tin, sitting on a beach chair, with the cute little white dog on his lap! Then there was a big dance number, with singing and trumpets (the whole thing was very surreal), which showed Tin Tin exchanging the real dog for a stuffed one, tossing it off stage, and getting in return … a pudgy little man dressed mostly in white but wearing a horrid blond Afro wig. This was better than the dog?

The rest of the show was … well, is it unfair to call it cartoony? There wasn’t any acting taking place, no character evolution, just movement toward the end of the plot. Occasionaly there were more surreal song and dance numbers (such as when the dog got drunk – don’t ask me how he got the lid off without opposable thumbs, or even fingers – and when “The Captain” got altitude sickness), and one genuine bit of stage magic (when a dead woman “awoke” – I jumped and a little girl in about the fourth row started crying). But … well, Josh fell asleep at one point, and I was mostly more concerned about what had happened to the dog than what had happened to any of the characters, or was going to happen to them. I guess if you’re going to take your kids out to see a show over the Christmas season, it would be far better for them to see this than Mary Poppins, though clearly I damn with my faint praise. Me, I just kept wishing “Snowy” would shut up and be more like Puss was on Friday night – sexy as all get out and QUIET (other than his meows). Happily, the dog did appear in the final scene, but I’ll never know for certain how he spent the intervening two hours.

This show did make me think that I’ve finally detected a theme in London plays this years. Yes, indeed, folks, ignore the Chinese calendar – 2007 is the year of the Monkey! (It’s not the year of the severed head as I was thinking it might be – the year is almost over and I’ve only seen two, though I did also get two hangings in a month.) There was the great “Monkey on a Pedestal” scene in Drowsy Chaperone, the King Kong critter in Dick Whittington, and then the “Abominable Snowman” of Tin Tin! It was CLEARLY a reimagined monkey suit, but since the show was nearly over, I was willing to forgive it any and all – and it did look a bit like a cartoon of a Yeti.