The Blues Brothers Show
Review By: Gringo

I weighed up my options. I could either spend the weekend trying to progress further in reading Richard Nixon's memoirs (considering I was only on page 335 of a dictionary-esque 1090 pages, this was probably the wisest option open to me), or I could get drunk. I somewhat stupidly chose the latter. This is loosely a second part to my review of the musical Chicago. As I explained in that review, that show and the Blues Brothers stage show were two events we went to on a trip to London. A trip I advise you never make. It was expensive and I got a headache. Oh, and I broke a toilet seat. It's not because I'm a fat bastard, but instead I thought standing on a lowered toilet seat to take my contact lenses out would be a great idea. I went crashing through the seat, into the thankfully empty bowl. I then spent the next twenty minutes pulling pieces of shattered plastic out of the toilet, wearing a sock on my hand because I thought it'd keep out any infection or disease I might catch from sticking my hand deep into the murky water. But I didn't lose a lens. Success!

That picture above is the only decent one I took in our nation's capital. It's all downhill from here on in. Anyway, when we'd been talking about London, my friend and I (it's not fair to name and shame him, so I won't) thought it would be a funny idea to dress up as the Blues Brothers for the show, suits, hat and all. To be honest, he thought it was less funny than I did, but I'm sure I bribed him somehow into agreeing. Now, before you continue reading, you need to know that I have no talent...ever! Well, I certainly don't have talent when it comes to either dancing or singing. Which makes a great deal of sense to have me and my friend (of similar talent) dressing up as the Blues Brothers and dancing along to a lot of rhythm and blues numbers. We are stupid. Especially me. I don't know if you've ever seen The Big Lebowski, and if you haven't, skip to the next paragraph and just rest assured my dancing sucks. For those of you that have, remember the scene where the Dude flies through the air before plummeting to the ground and dancing down some stairs? That's my level of skill on the dance floor; shaking my fists like some angered yokel and pulling all manner of strange facial contortions.

Take that level of moronic behaviour and pour it into a black suit, sunglasses and hat, and what have you got? A cross between an extra from Men In Black and a stupid prick. However embarrassed we were before drinking anything (and believe me, sitting on the London Underground on the way to the theatre we got our fair share of strange looks) it soon gave way to the fool's worst friend, alcohol. Yes, we got loaded up on wine at some shitty Pizza Hut restaurant. I think I had a slice of pizza, same as my friend. The focus was on cheap, high percentage wine that would get us drunk fast. It worked. When the waiter came to collect the bill, I vaguely remember digging in my pockets for a tip and finding a twenty pence piece. That's less than a quarter of a dollar. Because I was under the influence, I stumbled and threw it on the floor. The waiter was amused. Then I said: "There's your tip, if you want it you'll have to crawl for it." The waiter was no longer amused. I really feel bad for saying that, and I'm not normally that obnoxious. Mr. Waiter, if you're reading this (chances: slim) then you have my apology. And twenty pence! You're making out like a bandit!

On a completely unrelated matter, there was a rather attractive lady (hello, I am going to speak like I live in the 1940's, because it leads to fun) on stage, as one of the backing singers. Her beauty had nothing to do with the fact that she was the only female cast member. I'd like to tell you a story of how I wooed (yes, wooed!) her after the show, wining and dining her then taking her back to my musty little room at the hotel for a night of passionate sex. I'd like to tell you that story, but I can't because as you've inevitably guessed, I got nowhere near her. The nearest I got to anything remotely sexual that night was trying to hit on a barmaid at the theatre who must have been pushing fifty years old at best. Then I remember literally wanting to hit her. Shortly afterwards me and my friend found ourselves outside in the cold London night, dressed as Jake and Elwood and reaching to switch off our twat pagers, which were going off like nobody's business. Okay, we don't have twat pagers, but if such a thing ever existed rest assured mine would never be off. And if some enterprising technician out there builds a twat pager, I want a share of the profits.

Anyway, the show was over. I had to watch my monetary flow, as I had already forked out ten pounds (about fifteen dollars) to compensate the hotel owner whose toilet seat I had destroyed. So drunk, obnoxious and with no shame left to lose, me and my friend tried to think of where to go to next. Then, an idea! We'd taken a camera down to London hoping to get something amusing. Remember the 70's television show Starsky & Hutch? No, neither do I. But I remember the character Huggy Bear. He went round giving Starsky and Hutch sass in large quantities, I believe. I mention him because he had a part in the Blues Brothers show, singing the song Minnie The Moocher, which Cab Calloway made more memorable in the actual Blues Brothers movie. Regardless, we thought it would be funny to get a photo with him, so off we went to the stage door. And oh, what hilarity ensued. Whilst waiting for Huggy (real name Antonio Fargas) to appear, a random group of girls ran up to my friend and asked him if he'd been on the local radio station that morning. He said yes, which was a complete lie, and one girl proceeded to beat his leg with an umbrella.

As he raced after the cackling girls, desperate to kick them all in the face, I noticed movement. I called the clown back, and sure enough we saw Mr. Fargas approach. We managed to act sober enough (okay, just less drunk than we were) to ask him for a photo, and with a look of utter horror he eventually agreed. You can see the results of that encounter in the picture above (I'm on the left, sadly). Fine, our stupidity was on record for life and there was no changing that. It had been a pleasant, brief meeting and I thought that was it. But as Mr. Fargas made his way off to a waiting car, my friend shouts at the top of his voice "YOU WERE GREAT IN MIAMI VICE!". Words can't describe the look on Huggy Bear's face, and the situation was made even better because as I later found out, my friend really did think that the Fargas guy had been a star of Miami Vice. Somehow, his honest mistake makes his comment all the more memorable. We also met the two men who played Jake and Elwood. Jake was more interested in being somewhere else, and to be honest we didn't really like him.

But Elwood...now Elwood was comedy gold. Apparently, the guy had been on a hang-glider when he just dropped off it, hurtling down into some woods below. And he only hurt his leg! The guy's a superhero! Anyway, we got our photo taken with him too. Some guy took two pictures, and when looking through them we're all standing smiling in the first, but in the second we seem to be attempting to attack Elwood and he genuinely looks frightened. I'm not going to put those pictures up, because I feel I should spare the guy his dignity. I owe him that much, especially as he's probably having sleepless nights now, repeating "Can't sleep...freaks will get me" as his mantra. After the brief stage door nonsense, my friend and me set off into London's West End in search of a decent nightclub. What did we get? Bugger all. We got turned down from everywhere we tried to get into, with the suits, hats and glasses (in other words, the fact we looked like morons) being the biggest stumbling block. So we went back to the hotel, fell asleep - in separate beds, you filthy pervert! What do you think I am? Ross? - little aware of the hell that would be Chicago the next night.

But that story has already been told. I've just realised that despite writing far too much, I haven't really touched on the Blues Brothers show itself, which seems slightly strange as that's the title of this review. It was an okay show. That's a really lame word to use, but it's true, it was okay. They tried to stick in some stupid subplot about the Blues Brothers being on the run from the police, which got old fast, and the best thing was what we'd gone for in the first place - the music. I'm a big fan of the first movie (hello, Blues Brothers 2000! You suck ass!) and its soundtrack, and the two performers brought enough life to the various tracks. They also made some poor bastard in the audience stand up halfway through the show and get them to sing solo. Any show that does that to unsuspecting people is fine with me. The only lull in the entire show was when Elwood sang Under The Boardwalk and Jake told some soppy tale about kissing girls. At this point I got bored and in the middle of the hushed theatre audience felt the urge to shout "MONTY!" very loudly. I still don't know why. But someone many rows behind shouted back "MONTY?" in a very inquisitive manner. It ruined Jake's story and Elwood's song. Thanks, mystery lady!


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