Wednesday, 23 January 2013

I dreamed a dream

Dreaming a dream - not a good start perhaps; there are few alternative actions other than living in one; chasing one; or trying to live in one I suppose.

I think dreams are vital to us. Sometimes I help myself to sleep by starting an adventure in my head then waiting for sleep to take over the story. I'm envious of a friend who is on a type of medication that allows him to take a comfort break in the middle of a dream, go back to bed and pick up the dream where he left off. In my case I have to start a different thread, usually a successful experience such as scoring a rugby try or sailing a long trip in a dinghy without falling over. On rare occasions a real event comes along which seems to echo a dream in an eerie sort of way - like seeing a "new" place and feeling I have seen it before.

Yesterday we went to see the film version of my favourite musical (by a long margin). Reading various critics of Les Miserables nearly put me off. Some of my highly skilled musician friends were also full of reasons why mere actors should be not be allowed to perform in such a highly rated film. The musical is of course a world phenomenon now - and yet the so called experts got it wrong at the start as well, predicting an early end to the stage show.

Well, I still love the musical - and the film has added hugely to my enjoyment of the stage performance. It certainly hasn't spoiled my dream. Instead of having to imagine what events were taking place from programme notes or brief text comments I now have a much clearer mental picture of the plot. Street conditions were portrayed vividly. Anguish and emotion were present in abundance. The escape through the sewer was horrifically vivid. And good though the landlord and landlady have been in the stage and video performances I have seen - Helena Bonham Carter's take was delightful, especially being paired with the often dubious Sasha Baron Cohen.

There were lots of dreams in the plot, and the songs around this theme are woven all through this epic story. It mattered little to me that very few of the performers could match the singing performance of their equivalents in the stage show - Russell Crowe's strained rendering of "Javert's" stern edicts are a prime example.

Hope; Forgiveness; Remorse; Second chances; Love; Dreams.. in my head all these themes of Les Mis are now much more clearly defined. If you haven't seen either the film or the stage performance - you are missing out.

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