Ok, someone should have slapped some sense into me for the post below, in which I got on my high horse and said I didn’t think Danny Boyle’s “Frankenstein” was up to the mark. Where the hell do I get off being critical about a National Theatre production when the local fare is “The Sound of Music”, starring Dalip Tahil as Captain von Trapp and Delna Mody as Maria?
Never mind the horrific fact that now, thanks to this production, Dalip Tahil and Christopher Plummer have something in common. Or that, despite some decent singing, the original story is mauled out of shape since chunks of the plot have been discarded. Here’s what passes for sensitivity in Mumbai theatre. At one point, near the end of “The Sound of Music”, Nazi flags appear on stage and a bunch of kids from the Happy Home and School for the Blind are cast as Nazi soldiers. These “soldiers” sing “Amazing Grace”, which as far as I know wasn’t one of Hitler’s favourites. But it’s not the historical accuracy that has my blood pressure soaring. Or the fact that the differently-abled kids are relegated to playing Nazis. (It’s upsetting but at least there’s an attempt to involve these children in the production, someone told me when I was grinding my teeth. If you say so.)
Remember the lyrics of “Amazing Grace”?
“I once was lost but now am found,/ Was blind but now I see.”
Do those sound like lyrics suitable for children who will never be able to see? And don’t start on the whole business of metaphors. For a blind kid, not being able to see is not a metaphor but an unwavering reality. And yet, a bunch of educated, smart people didn’t spot the cruelty in making these children in particular sing a song about restored sight.
Then Dalip Tahil sang “Edelweiss”.
I’ll take Cumberbatch in a loincloth, staggering about and grunting over this bollocks any day.