Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 39 - A Date with Eternity

From Here to Eternity
Today, while I was working on my blogs, hubby braved the windy weather and procured tickets for us to the new musical, which opened on Oct. 23, From Here to Eternity.

Soldiers in the barracks
It received mixed reviews, which probably accounted for a less than full audience on only it's third day out. In Paul Taylor's review for the Independent, he wrote, "The aim is a grittier, sexier low-down on life in the US army and the show – with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by newcomer Stuart Brayson – certainly gives you a powerful sense of men, thrown by poverty into this substitute family, and the nervous energies that are barely held in check by the furious military drilling in Javier de Frutos's testosterone-fuelled choreography."

Kiss on the Beach
I agree the show is a lot grittier than the movie, so it is reportedly more faithful to James Jones's novel.  I also felt that the scenes with the men of company G were probably the strongest, and that's part of the problem. They should be rousing, but the best scenes should be those of the principals, and unfortunately that wasn't the case
Rehearsal for the Kiss Scene
Taylor goes on to say, "An air of unintended embarrassment hangs around the illicit passion between Darius Campell's tall, dark and lecherous First Sergeant Milt Warden and Karen (Rebecca Thornhill), the neglected wife of his boss. There’s no sizzle in the wise-cracks, and though the first act climaxes, rather laughably, in a spot of rear-view nudity, there is little erotic spark between them."

Sergeant Warden and Karen
He's right that Karen and Milt's relationship lacks electricity, because for some reason the most emotional scenes are played without any emotion at all.  Not even a struggle to keep the unwanted emotion at bay. The characters could as well be talking about a frustrating day at the grocery store than the fact that Karen had to have a hysterectomy because her unfaithful husband gave her gonorrhea, taking away all chance of her ever having a child.  That moment should have been fraught with anger and frustration and perhaps even tears on Karen's part as she tries to explain to her lover why she's now being unfaithful to her husband, but she's dry-eyed leaving the audience equally untouched by her plight.

Warden, Karen, Lorene, Prewitt
I didn't think the first act climax was laughable, but I wanted a better connection between all four of the principals.  Problem is none of them is really likable.  Karen's husband, who serves as the commanding officer for the company, refers to his unfaithfulness as "one small mistake."  Karen has become cold and emotionally distant from her husband and any other man she chooses to sleep with.  Sergeant Walker is known as a handsome lech, so he's got some strikes against him before he and Karen get together. Private Prewitt (the second male lead) has a past he regrets, so he's determined to remain emotionally distant, and the woman he eventually falls in love with (Lorene) is paid to have sex with other men, so she has to keep her emotions in check.  Because of their situation, all four of these characters need to grow until at one point they feel so strongly it hurts them, and we (the audience) need to experience their growth pains, so that we care what happens to them and want them to succeed with all our heart.  Instead, we watch them go through the show without ever opening themselves up to the hurt of loving someone.  They say they love, but we don't believe them.  We can't because they refuse to let us in.

Ryan Sampson Curtain Call
The best actor in the show was Ryan Sampson, whose portrayal of the jesting, bullied-to-death Maggio reminded me of a young Al Pacino.  His wisecracking and emotionally open character was a relief when compared to the other actors, and he received the greatest applause as well.

Shaftesbury Theatre
The ending is emotionally rousing considering that almost all the soldiers die.  And though we are disappointed that the women do not end up with the men they claim to have loved, we feel much more for the innocent soldiers who lost their lives to the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor.

I think the show has great potential, but they need to make the primary characters more likable, or we won't care what happens to them in the end.

Charles, Prince William, and Diana
On a slightly different topic, I wanted to add information about HRH George of Cambridge's Christening at St. James Palace on the 23rd, while we were in Cambridge.  I doubt we would have gotten close enough to capture any good photos as some of the pictures below will reveal the crowds around the palace, but I'm sorry we missed the event entirely.  Most of text below comes from the Daily Mail article I refer to at the end of this post.  Please refer to it if you'd like more information and pictures. (Note: most of the pictures can be viewed as larger images if you click on them).

Official portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with a happy Prince George
The official portrait for the christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, HRH Duke of Cambridge and HRH Duchess of Cambridge, in The Morning Room at Clarence House in London on Oct. 23rd 2013.

Kate wore Alexander McQueen to Baby George’s christening, but the Prince one-upped his fashionista mother with a hand-made Honiton lace dress fashioned after the christening gown worn by every royal baby since 1841.

Prince William's Christening
Front Row: Queen Elizabeth II, Diana holding William, the Queen Mother
Back Row: Charles and Prince Phillip

Front Row Queen, Kate and William
Back Row Prince Phillip, Charles, Camilla, Harry, Pippa, James, Carole and Michael Middleton
According to aides, there wasn’t ‘even a peep’ out of the three-month-old future king as he was baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace.


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge asked their siblings to do readings at Prince George's christening service.
Harry read a passage from the gospel of St John (15: 1-5), which begins 'I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener', while Pippa read the famous 'Suffer little children that they come unto me' passage from the gospel of St Luke (18:15-17).
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, baptised Prince George, supported by the Dean of The Chapel Royal, the Rt Rev Richard Chartres, and the Sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal, the Rev Prebendary William Scott.
The two hymns sung at the service were Breathe On Me, Breath Of God, and Be Thou My Vision.  
Blessed Jesu! Here We Stand was written for Prince William's baptism on 4 August 1982, and the anthems were performed by the Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal.
The processional altar music was Bach's Fantasia in G (BWV 572), while the recessional altar music was Widor's Toccata from Symphony No.5.

‘He went in smiling, came out smiling and, as far as we are aware, smiled throughout,’ said one.

William, however, could not resist confiding: ‘It’s the first time he’s been quiet all day.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury told the congregation in the Holbein-painted chapel that George’s parents and godparents had a ‘simple task’ – to ‘make sure he knows who this Jesus is’.

The simplicity of the half-hour ceremony contrasted with the historic grandeur of the surroundings.

St. James's Palace
The heart of Mary I is buried beneath the choir-stalls of St. James's Palace and Elizabeth I prayed there for the defense of the realm against the Spanish armada in 1588.

Adding some gravitas is the note that it was in the Chapel Royal that Diana’s body lay before her funeral in Westminster Abbey in 1997. Kate also chose the chapel to be confirmed into the Church of England before her marriage to Prince William in April 2011.

Crowds around St. James Palace
George’s life too, is already steeped in history. The Archbishop made the sign of the cross on his head with water taken from the River Jordan, in a royal tradition that dates back to the 12th century.

Silver Lily Baptismal Font in Chapel Royal of St. James Palace
The water was poured into the silver Lily Baptismal Font which was commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1840 and has been used at every royal christening since.

Godmother to George Zara Phillips with husband Mike Tindall
His parents’ guest list for the christening – which left out senior members of the family including Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne – was a surprise to some. It did, however, result in the ‘intimacy’ the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge craved.

Indeed, there were just 23 guests present, giving the christening a feel of a family gathering rather than the moment a future Supreme Governor was presented to his Church.

Earlier, Kensington Palace unveiled the long awaited list of godparents. Among the seven, there was no royalty, just a smattering of close friends, relatives and advisers.

They are Oliver Baker, Kate and William’s flatmate at St Andrew’s, interior decorator Emilia Jardine-Paterson, William’s cousin Zara Tindall and his  childhood friend William van Cutsem, one of William’s most trusted confidantes.

At just 22, Hugh, Earl Grosvenor, was the youngest. He is the son of one of the country’s richest men, the Duke of Westminster, whose wife, Natalia, is one of William’s godmothers.

Family friends: Prince George's godparents Julia Samuel, a close friend of the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and the Duke of Westminster's son Hugh Grosvenor, right, are pictured arriving with the Hon. Mrs Samuel's husband, Michael, left
For the Queen it was very much business as usual. She broke away from her schedule for only an hour – and was last night busy hosting a charity reception at the Palace.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip with Charles and Camilla in the background
Shortly before 3pm on the 23rd, the family gathered at St James’s Palace to await the Queen.
The guests filed in, including Carole and Pippa Middleton, Kate’s heavily bearded brother James and William and Kate followed with baby George Alexander Louis.

The Queen was the last to walk in, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh. She wore a diamond, ruby and sapphire floral brooch that her own parents had given her on the birth of Prince Charles in 1948.

The prince bounced his baby son up and down as Kate, radiant in a cream Alexander McQueen ruffled outfit with a jaunty Jane Taylor hat, beamed proudly.

Kate holding George
With its long, flowing skirt, Prince George’s fairytale christening gown was a vision to behold. But the third in line to the throne was swathed in much more than layers of intricate lace and satin when he was popped into the robe yesterday.  He was also wrapped up snugly in 172 years of royal history.

The elaborate cream gown is a handmade replica of one worn by Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, at her christening in 1841, and then passed down as an heirloom. The original, made of the same fabric as the wedding dress Queen Victoria wore for her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840, went on to be worn by generations of royal babies – 62 in all, including Victoria’s eight other children.

Every British monarch since Edward VII wore it, including the Queen when she was christened in 1926. So did all four of her children, all her grandchildren and other royal babies.

Created by Janet Sutherland, a Falkirk coal miner’s daughter, it was delicately crafted from Spitalfields silk, given a satin weave to make it glossy, and trimmed with lace from Honiton, East Devon.

The gown was hand-washed in spring water and carefully stored in a cool, dark place to keep it pristine. But in 2004, after the christening of Lady Louise Windsor, daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex, the cherished antique was deemed too fragile to be used again and went into retirement, preserved at Buckingham Palace.

So loved was it, however, the Queen commissioned an exact replica from her dresser Angela Kelly – with the same cap sleeves, neck bow, ruffled overlay, high waist, long skirt and wide sash.  It was first worn by Edward and Sophie’s son James at his christening in 2008.

As they walked out it was Kate’s turn to hold baby George, who appeared to be slightly dozing under the watchful eye of their part-time nanny, Jessie Webb.  Afterwards there was just enough time for tea and a slice of christening cake (in line with tradition, a tier of the couple’s wedding cake from 2011) at neighbouring Clarence House before the Queen had to get back to business at Buckingham Palace.

On the 24th an historic set of photographs taken at that tea will be released to the public.
The photographs will, for the first time in more than a century, show a monarch and three living heirs: Prince Charles, 64, Prince William, 31 and George.  (See earlier photo)  The last occasion such a picture was taken was in 1894 when Queen Victoria was photographed with her son Edward VII, grandson George V and great grandson Edward VIII.  (See photo below).

Christening of Prince Edward Albert
If you want more information about the ceremony and see more pictures of the invited guests, please visit:

1 comment:

  1. I'm sorry the play was such a disappointment. They can't all be winners, I suppose. The movie was wonderful; it would be hard to do it justice on the stage if you didn't have superior actors.

    I didn't follow the christening. I guess, even though the queen still reigns over Canada, I'm just not much of a follower of royal happenings. The pictures showed a happy family, though, and that's really pleasant. I hope they're happy when not in front of a camera as well.