As the world shatters around me; with Japan still reeling from a trio of truly awful disasters; with the Middle East once again igniting with the fires of war and with the dread Super-moon looming overhead threatening to kill us all through unspecified and unexplained methods beyond the pale of such trivial constraints as science; I found there was only one appropriate response. One thing I should do: Go to the theatre. Sure the worlds falling down around my ears, but what the hell can I do about it? I’ve got no especial talents, nor a vast reservoir of wealth to throw at a problem until it magically vanishes in a misty cloud of goodwill and happy puppies. These things don’t effect me, I can’t fix them. So as callous as it might seem, I’m going to try my best to ignore them. Except the Super-moon you DO NOT fuck with the Super-moon. It’s a fucking moon! It weighs 73,477 quadrillion tons, travels at nearly two and a half thousand miles an hour and in the last day has gained the prefix “super”. There’s no way one man can stop something like that. Except maybe Superman, but he’s fictional so he’s not in a great position to help.
So the theatre seems like a perfectly reasonable way to face the current global situation. It’s the time of year when the university’s Gilbert and Sullivan society put on their show. This year it was the Pirates of Penzance. The source of the famous “Major General Song”. There’s something quite delightfully cathartic about G&S’ operettas. They are at once both incredibly simple and incredibly contrived. Simple in that they can all be more or less summed up as “there are some comic misunderstanding and then everyone gets married” and contrived in exactly how this is achieved. The songs are catchy, the plot doesn’t really require to think, and in my case it affords me an opportunity to watch my old house mate prance about, sing and look like a proper twat (In a most endearing sort of way). I’m also a sucker for the happy ending. Although I may profess to like things to be all grim and dark, all betrayal and intrigue, at heart I’m a hopeless romantic and like to be able to let out a guilty “awwwwww”. Even if in the case of HMS Pinafore there’s the disturbing case of what I refer to as “comedy surprise incest” at the end. As an added bonus they still manage to remain funny to this day. I suspect that G&S’ particular brand of levity has an exceptionally long half life.
In a world as terrible as ours we really need more in the way nice simple things to make us smile.
As an aside there’s also Mitchell and Webb’s delightful G&S sketch