Monday, 25 March 2013

Read about Hairspray, then Listen to this... Bollywood Disco...

That's it. I am inventing a new critical theory. It's called ironism. It is the only way that I can cope with the mainstream. Despite being a happy little critic, as long as I am poking about in the margins of popular culture, I find mainstream theatre is too complicated.

Take Hairspray. When I was growing up, it was a film. Sure, it was rated PG, by it was directed by John Waters. His previous films were famous for presenting non-normative sexualities - a foot fetish in Mondo Trasho and that scene in Pink Flamingos  that gave Divine quite the reputation.

Then they made a musical version of it. This was made into a film. The musical film had John Travolta playing the part originally played by Divine. The layers of irony are so thick here, I decided that the only way to understand the transitions was to acknowledge irony's presence, before ignoring it. 

This is the essence of ironism. I intend to market it as the solution to the problem of post-modernism's problems with irony.

In the meantime: here's the latest. The stage version (which is now the musical of the film of the musical of the film) coming to Scotland stars Mark Benton.

He plays the part of Chalky in the BBC series Waterloo Road.

In Hairspray, he is playing the part of John Travolta playing the part of Divine playing a housewife from Baltimore. “I can't wait to start Hairspray, it's going to be amazing fun and an interesting challenge for me as it's my first adventure into the world of musicals," he says. :"That I get to go on that adventure playing a Baltimore housewife is an added bonus! As a musical I think it has everything, great songs, great script, really interesting story and lots and lots of laughs...I hope!”

Excavating past the surface complexity, Hairspray is unlike many musicals. It has a plot. There's also a political edge: set in 1962, on the cusp of the grand changes that saw the USA become all funky and almost degenerate into a race war, a geeky teenager becomes famous thanks to a reality type show. 

I am catching a mainstream musical observing itself? Ironism works here too.

New Delhi Disco Chicks - Bollywood Mixtape Vol. 1. by Hushpuppy on Mixcloud

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