Thursday, March 06, 2008

When The Cat's Away...

With the better half away Up North visiting family this week, I've been happily filling my evenings with the sort of activities that he wouldn't necessarily appreciate, and enjoying the opportunity to catch up with friends in a girlie/one-on-one context. I'll miss him of course, but I don't mind the odd week to myself every now and then. On Tuesday night, my wardrobe mistress skills were once again called upon, this time by Brian, who was wanting to become a pirate - à la Treasure Island - for the World Book Day festivities at his school. I was happy enough to oblige - pirates are easy, especially with all the leftover stuff from the recent Seasick! party. Later that same evening, I was responsible for another transformation - this time turning the lovely Harriet back into a brunette (from being a semi-blonde for the last few years) - a change which suits her immensely. Then last night I popped out to meet Jo at the Duke of York's, to see Juno - a bittersweet drama about teenage pregnancy. From the premise, you'd be forgiven for thinking it might be a tad depressing, either that or sickeningly cloying, but thankfully it's neither.

Deadpan high school misfit Juno, played by a believably adolescent looking Ellen Page (in real life she's 21), is unfortunate enough to get pregnant the first time she has sex - with her geeky running-obsessed best friend, Bleeker (Michael Cera). Seemingly taking the experience in her stride, Juno initially opts for abortion, telling the bemused father: "I'm just gonna go ahead an nip this thing in the bud. Cuz you know, they say pregnancy often leads to, you know…infants". But, perturbed by the oppressive abortion clinic ("..and the receptionist tried to get me to take these condoms that looked like grape suckers and was just babbling away about her freaking boyfriend's pie balls!"), and the idea of her foetus having fingernails already, she decides she can't go through with it, and instead sets about finding the perfect couple to adopt her baby. Predictably, all doesn't go quite to plan, but the outcome is ultimately uplifting, without being overly sentimental. We see Juno transform from flippant carefree teen to knowing young woman; and although I found myself welling up once or twice, there are also laughs-a-plenty, particularly if, like me, you dig the darker end of the humour spectrum. The quirky, stylised dialogue (see examples above)- which could have easily fallen flat in other hands - is wonderfully executed to hilarious effect by Page, not to mention an excellent supporting cast. The soundtrack is pretty cool, too.

In complete contrast, tonight I shall be going to see Zorro the Musical, on its pre-West End stint at the Congress Theatre in Eastbourne (of all places). Scored by the legendary Gipsy Kings, I'm expecting plenty of over-the-top flamenco numbers, and campery in abundance - so of course I'm taking along the GBF, who's bound to love it. Watch this space for my own thoughts on the matter...

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