Monday, February 11, 2008

Cabaret and Company

God, what a miserable weekend weather-wise. Never have I objected so much to the cold as I have this year, probably because I've been obliged to spend more time in it. I suppose I should be glad, since this indicates that, with so many reasons to be out of the house, my life is vibrant, active, exciting and all that shit, but frankly, I'd rather just stay in bed (even alone) on days like we had over the last 48 hours. I nearly killed myself three times taking my clothes to the laundromat, since the sidewalks in my neighborhood are completely iced over (and salt makes no difference at all).

But finally I got it all done and was able to enjoy myself a little. I finally got to see fellow Handbagger Trista Smith and her partner Jason Grimm in their cabaret act "What Are Cabaret: A Cabaret" at Davenport's on Saturday night.

I actually got there a little early since parking wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be in that neighborhood (I literally parked right across the street). The show was hilarious: filthy, raunchy, disreputable--everything I hope it would be! Smith and Grimm have been performing together for about six years and they have a great onstage chemistry. There's one more performance at Davenport's on February 23, so catch it if you can. It's a $15 cover and two-drink minimum. Well worth it!

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I also watched the entire first series of "Two's Company," the BBC comedy starring Elaine Stritch and Donald Sinden that ran from 1975-1979. I had high hopes for the show when I ordered it from Netflix, and it did not disappoint. The fashion in Britain during the 1970s was to use some sort of animation/cartoon in their sitcom themes, and "Two's Company" opens with the two characters as a goose in an evening gown (Elaine) and a lion in a tophat (Donald) voicing the Sammy Cahn-penned theme song:

ELAINE:
Two's Company ordinarily
Two's Company, but contrarily
We disagree no matter what it happens to be

DONALD:
You're the perverse one

ELAINE:
I agonize

DONALD
Night and day with you

ELAINE:
To compromise

DONALD
There's no way with you!

ELAINE:
I wish I had picked a large boa constrictor, my friend

DONALD (spoken):
Are you trying to tell me something

ELAINE
You're the perverse one
Two's company

DONALD (spoken)
Indisputably

ELAINE:
Two's company

DONALD:
Irrefutably

ELAINE:
How'd we embark on old Noah's ark, pair by pair?

DONALD:
Not so loud!

ELAINE:
So ask me, who's company?

DONALD:
Whenever I choose company

ELAINE:
I gotta say, two's company

DONALD:
Except for this affair

ELAINE:
You give me mal de mer

DONALD:
Do you know what that means?

ELAINE:
Can we let in some fresh air?

DONALD:
No madam

BOTH:
Au contraire


The show is funny, but it's more like a stage play than a sitcom, in the way that many British comedies are. The premiere episode features Dorothy (Elaine Stritch) answering the door to Robert (Donald Sinden), who's come to the house in answer to her advertisement for a manservant. Upon learning that she's a woman and an American, he's prepared to decline the position, but Dorothy insists he at least stay for a drink before he goes out into the rain again. What ensues is at once great comedy and a very clever cat-and-mouse game, as Dorothy challenges him to overcome his prejudices against women and Americans and to prove he's as good at his job as he claims to be. In fact, she's SO determined that he'll take her bait that she ends up taking HIS bait, offering him a very attractive salary and a self-contained flat.

As the series continues, they maintain their rivalry while developing a grudging respect and admiration for one another. They also become more familiar with each other in different situations: Robert injures himself on the stairs, forcing Dorothy to accompany him to the hospital emergency room, allowing the crusty American to make a commentary on the ineffectiveness of British socialized medicine; Robert's overbearing mother comes to stay while she's passing through London, at Dorothy's insistence and despite Robert's reluctance, and quickly takes over the house; and Dorothy asks Robert to "chaperone" her visit from an aggressive and amorous suitor so that his photographer nephew will take pictures of her for his magazine, and she ends up fending off the advances of the obnoxious suitor while Robert is engrossed in a televised cricket match.

If you're an Elaine Stritch fan, this show is a must-see. It will make you a fan of Donald Sinden as well (I have to admit I'd only previously heard his named dropped in an episode of "The Young Ones," but have since learned that he's a very accomplished actor in Britain. I've added Series 2 of "Two's Company" to my Netflix queue, and hope to get it by the end of the week.

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We learned on Friday that mom's insurance will no longer pay for her nursing home. Fortunately, Mom has some money in savings, but of course we don't know how much will be required, so this is quite worrying. But as my aunt said, we'll just do what's necessary. It won't be for very much longer, in any event, and we'll just cross the bridge when we reach it...

8 Comments:

Blogger Steven said...

"It won't be for very much longer, in any event, and we'll just cross the bridge when we reach it..." So sorry to hear of the news. I wish I could help with the worries. Sending strength and prayers your way.

I know what you mean about the sidewalks being iced over. We were in town at the American Theater Company yesterday and there was ice everywhere.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Thanks much for the prayers...they are much appreciated!

It's supposed to start snowing again this afternoon. I'm just thrilled.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pray your Mom is not suffering too much. I still have both parents and see them almost every day. I know they can't live forever but when the time comes I'll be shaken to my knees. They say they are going to a better place and I sure as Hell hope thst is true. Your mom will be in thsi better place too, where there is no pain or suffering.
Abe Lincoln quote: "I am often driven to my knees upon realizing there was no place else to go". He was a wise man. Take care, Ed

6:07 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Ed: Thanks for the kind thoughts...Mom's condition does seem to deteriorate little by little, but she's not suffering and she's in a place where she's happy. I'm just grateful for that...

9:55 PM  
Blogger willam said...

oh my god. i had no idea about this series. thanx for turning me on to it.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Willam: You'll love it! Elaine really is kind of like a female (and more elegant) Ralph Kramden: she always gets proven wrong in the end. Except when her butler plays a mean trick on her--then she gets even by playing a sly, mean trick on him.

I love it. Hard.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I came across your post while searching for the half-remembered lyrics to the theme song to "Two's Company." Thank you; with the information you posted, I was able to find clips of the show on YouTube. By the way, I think Elaine's animal character in the opening is meant to be an eagle, not a goose. British Lion :: American Bald Eagle.

11:19 PM  
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