Eco-extremist troupe Simply Cease Oil has as soon as once more disrupted the sleek operating of civilised society to remind us of the approaching local weather disaster.
This time, these foolish middle-class twats selected Wednesday night’s efficiency of Les Misérables for his or her newest piece of efficiency politics. And as soon as once more, they did so with a view to demand that all of us cease having fun with ourselves, simply as they’ve executed at artwork galleries, the tennis and, certainly, some visitors lights on the North Round.
On this specific event, JSO activists achieved their disruption by the medium of glue, attaching themselves to the stage on the Sondheim Theatre proper in the course of Les Mis. Much less Victor Hugo than Victor Uhu.
Depressing certainly have been the targets of JSO’s theatre of the absurd – specifically, the viewers, who have been promptly despatched dwelling. Some had little question gone to appreciable expense within the hope of getting away for a couple of stolen moments of leisure in the course of our supposed oil-driven orgy of ecological desecration.
In any case, it’s not low-cost, this theatre lark. There’s the price of transport, the smart-metred babysitters, the inedible vegan wraps and the shiny content-free programmes (why do they include a lot baffling and inconsequential CSR messaging, and the CVs of half a dozen lighting engineers?). After which there’s the spatula-lidded ice cream at costs per ounce undreamt of by medieval saffron retailers and the nice and cozy gins and tonic that may be those you could have paid for. It’s, in brief, a racket – one thing that doesn’t escape theatre-goers’ discover. After which, simply because the punters really feel the acquainted swell from the orchestra pit, as Les Mis’s unusual incoherent stew of emotive warbling and melodic rebel carries them again to an easier time of demise, dysentery and despair – bang. Some cunt’s glued himself to the stage.
The response of X, previously often called Twitter, has been divided. There have been those that smugly declared that, have been they to have been within the viewers, they might have welcomed an interruption to such a shop-worn plodding leisure. After which there have been those that famous with wry amusement the ‘genius’ of interrupting a musical about protest, with an precise protest. ‘What fearful symmetry!’, they scoffed. JSO had confronted the pampered bourgeoisie within the circle and stalls with their very own hypocrisy. In different phrases, this form of factor: ‘Yeah if this was throughout Cats or one thing it wouldn’t be as clear, however getting irritated that “evenings have been ruined” due to a protest throughout Les Mis is probably the most tone-deaf factor I might ever think about.’
Sure, fancy desirous to take pleasure in a stage musical set in revolutionary France, and but be unwilling to have the night ruined by some slack-jawed dorks in orange jumpsuits demanding that you simply stop drilling within the Marianna Trench.
Readers could also be shocked to be taught that, due to a buddy’s generosity, I’ve not solely seen Les Misérables – fairly not too long ago and on the entrance row, too – however moreover I bloody liked it. In fact, nothing brings that further pinch of zest like a free ticket. However I do suppose Les Mis is a really efficient machine for subtly altering one’s mind chemistry for a few hours.
Attempting to make a rational case in prose for stage musicals is like attempting to elucidate why Donald Trump’s speeches are cleverer than they sound. They’re designed to short-circuit every little thing rational, each defence you could have spent a lifetime erecting. David Hume would get it, as in fact did Noël Coward. Or certainly, whoever mentioned, ‘Music expresses that which can’t be mentioned and on which it’s unimaginable to be silent’. Which it seems was Victor Hugo.
Again in 1985, when Les Misérables debuted within the UK, essential evaluations have been initially adverse. The Observer’s theatre critic, Michael Ratcliffe, dismissed it as ‘a witless and artificial leisure’. Nicely, everyone knows how that turned out. So, maybe the JSO protests may even at some point come to be seen as classics, incisive and genuine, and forward of their time, and my contempt will look as hole as Ratcliffe’s does now.
However within the meantime, take a bet on Les Mis. Odds are it would do you no hurt in any respect. It’d even soften your hearts, if not the polar ice caps. Simply bear in mind to deliver a big bag of dry roasted from Costcutter and a hip flask for the interval. And if you happen to a lot as catch a whiff of glue, a citizen’s arrest is completely inside your hard-won rights.
Simon Evans is a spiked columnist and humorist.