Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Uptown Friday night

I fulfilled my wifely duty last Friday, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. My "duty" is the thing where I convince my husband to actually get up off the couch and go out to DO something.

I'm not saying that he's lazy, because he's not. When he's on the couch, he's working. He may have his shoes kicked off and his feet up, but he's either grading papers, or writing his next book, or reading various things to stay informed on topics related to his field. While being able to do a fair portion of your work from home is good work if you can get it, it's still work -- work that tends to linger into the evening hours when typical instincts say it's time to relax.

And it's not like I want to go out all the time, either -- we're happily entrenched in "boring married couple" mode and I'm not looking to switch gears. But I do like to get out occasionally, especially as we're new to this city and there's a lot to explore.

We don't do typical nightlife. Usually when we go out, it's to the park or the library or the grocery store -- and it's in the cloudy, cool light of day. Not too exciting, but it's still getting out and seeing a small bit of the town. But Friday night I amped it up a notch: we went to the theater. Sure, it was a small venue apparently operated by the local town government, but it had everything I like: close, cheap (£6), music, dance, a sexy male lead. I'm all over that.

We went to see Mephistopheles Smith at the South Street theater in Reading. The show is a sexy, irreverent, irreligious hour with an evangelist who preaches the positives of hell, accompanied by his two "devilettes". It was written by Richard O'Brien, the man who wrote "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," which happens to be my favorite musical.

The theater was small and nothing fancy, but served the purpose and had a little bar in the back. The event was one more thing reminding me of how different the UK is from the U.S. -- an event sponsored by a city government in the U.S. would NEVER have a show encouraging people to indulge their vices and look forward to hot times in hell.

Paul Roberts
played the title character, and by the end of the show I thought he was quite hot, and it had nothing to do with his being the ruler of hell. That's how I end up feeling for many men who can sing or play an instrument well, which my husband thinks is funny but, like most men, also gets a tiny bit jealous of how much women dig musicians. It's not like I went on and on about it, but still, I did take notice. And it's not like Sweetie didn't comment on the cute "devilettes," so there. Not to mention one of them even pulled him out of his seat to dance in a scene, and I can tell you, that was the first time I ever saw him dance. He's no Fred Astaire, but he had plenty of good humor and gave it a rhythmically challenged go with a smile on his face.

Roberts really belted out the songs in true rock fashion, and we gladly shelled out £5 for a CD after the show. Unfortunately, none of the three songs I liked the most were on the CD, and the songs were sung by the previous cast -- the male vocalist did a much softer take on the songs, and it just wasn't for me. Not to mention the CDs looked like they'd been made on someone's home computer, self-printed labels and all. (FYI, the photo at the top of this post is actually of the previous cast, as I couldn't find a picture of the current cast. Indeed, all promotional ads I saw for this show had pictures of the old cast, which tells me this was a low-rent deal where the current cast is probably just doing a few shows -- a month at Edinburgh Festival Fringe and a few cities.)

Low-rent aspects aside, it was a fun show with great singing and we left smiling. Then we turned up the heat on our Friday night out on the town by going to Sainsbury's (grocery store) for some bottles of cheap wine. We made it home by 10 p.m. Oh yeah, we painted the town red.

All in all, it was a hell of a night.

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