The play is the thing…

So, Jennifer and I have been taking advantage of seeing local theatre here in Houston over the past few months.

I have to admit that before I dated Jennifer, I wasn’t really into theatre at all. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it; I simply didn’t know anyone who really wanted to go and I didn’t feel like going by myself. Furthermore, I had never been to anything like a small community theatre, so going to those never occurred to me either. However, it turned out Jennifer was a theatre geek, to the point where her bookshelves have several plays on them. Needless to say, since then we’ve been to plenty of live performances.

This year we’ve actually been to two performances at the Alley Theatre, which is Houston’s largest theatre company, thanks to tickets provided to us by our friend Julie. The first play we saw was A Few Good Men; we didn’t know what to expect from it, but as it turned out we enjoyed it a lot more than we did the movie with Tom Cruise. We also saw The Elephant Man, which, despite its name, is NOT connected to the movie starring John Hurt. That one was well-acted, but to be perfectly honest we’re not sure we liked the story itself. We have tickets to see Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club this weekend; being a big fan of Sherlock Holmes, I’m really looking forward to seeing this story, even if it isn’t based on an actual Arthur Conan Doyle story. :-)

We’ve also been going to smaller theatre productions as well. As I mentioned in an earlier post, a new theatre group called Bayou City Theatrics is in town. Since the last post, we’ve seen their productions of Little Shop of Horrors and Aida (the Elton John/Tim Rice musical, not the Giuseppe Verdi opera). Little Shop of Horrors was well done and we really enjoyed it. Aida, on the other hand, was a bit weaker. The woman who played Aida wasn’t that good; in fact, Jennifer pointed out that the woman who played Nehebka would have been a better Aida in her opinion. Also, unlike the previous two shows Bayou City Theatrics put on, Aida was done in a black box theatre configuration, and as such there were several times when we found it difficult to hear what the actors were saying or singing. We consider this a one-off; we’re still almost certainly going to go to their next performance.

We’ve even branched out a bit to smaller local theatres. On Sunday, we went with our friends Debby and Scott to the Pearl Theater in our home of Pearland to see their performance of Murder at the Howard Johnson’s. One might not think that Pearland would be home to a local theatre, and I would not blame anyone who does; it actually took us a bit of time to locate the theatre, as it was located in the sticks of Pearland in a converted small factory building. I have to say, the seats were comfortable and they did a great job with the set. However, none of us had heard of the play before we got tickets, so before the show started we looked it up on Wikipedia. When the play was over, we understood why it only lasted three performances on Broadway: in short, it was pretty dreadfully written and not very funny at all. The actors did the best they could with the material they had to work with, but they just could not overcome the bad writing. We’ll probably give them another chance, but we weren’t that impressed with our first show there.

I suppose the sad thing is that for the latter two groups, the shows we saw were the last of the season, and the Alley has one more show before their season ends. However, I’m not a big fan of Agatha Christie, so I don’t think missing the last Alley show will hurt my feelings too much. Still, I’m hoping Bayou City Theatrics gets a second season, and we may give Pearl Theater a second chance. As for the Alley, we’ll see what they have to offer next season. In any event, I enjoyed myself at these live theatre productions, and I’m looking forward to more.