Its Valentine’s Day again. Posh restaurants, overpriced hotels and ticket touts flogging seats to panicked looking gentlemen who forgot to arrange anything. For the rest of us, it’s probably either a bunch of flowers, some chocolates, or most likely another February wondering what’s happened to the postman…
For all us Bridget Joneses, Shirley Valentines and Edward Scissorhands, fear not! There’s a whole world of Musical Theatre couples out there whose love lives are so complicated and messy, you’ll find yourselves thanking your lucky stars you’re treating yourself to a bottle of Chardonnay and a night in singing All By Myself and waiting to be eaten by Alsatians…
Oh well…Take a look at these Musical Theatre news headlines from Valentines past as we skip through the rose-beds of Theatre’s great romances. And then ruin them.
COUPLE NUMBER ONE: CHRISTINE DAAE AND “ERIK” (THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA)
This dysfunctional couple makes the Addams Family look like The Waltons. He splits his time between a Paris sewer and a dingy theatre, writing weird music that makes your ears bleed. She’s a chorus girl who turns up for dates wearing a wedding dress. It’s not exactly Mills & Boon – she only puts out when she’s asleep and his idea of foreplay is showing her his operation scar – but they make a go of it…despite her having a boyfriend and him having a papier mache monkey.
COUPLE NUMBER TWO: SOPHIE SHERIDAN AND SKY (MAMMA MIA)
Despite a promising start, Sophie and Sky soon discover that love isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. She’s not sure who her Dad is and his parents haven’t shown up for the wedding at all. It’s the classic tale of Boy meets Girl meets bioligical father and two complete strangers who might also be her father. One is Swedish, one is gay and one is James Bond. All very strange.
COUPLE NUMBER THREE: MARIA AND TONY (WEST SIDE STORY)
It was never going to work. When your character is based on Romeo or Juliet, it’s inevitable that one of you is going to need a chemist and the other is going to need an undertaker. On the plus side it’s always nice to have a balcony and Boots is awfully handy when you have a rash. Just a shame about all the stabbing really.
Of course, these aren’t the only disastrous love stories in Musical Theatre. There’s the tale of the American GI who weds a Vietnamese call girl in a sham marriage and then dumps her for a trip in a helicopter (Miss Saigon)…another is the story of a woman who falls for a bloke because he can get her cheap tickets to the fair – she goes on to support domestic violence by saying it “doesn’t really hurt” – and then leaves her daughter with her violent dead ex-lover (Carousel). Finally of course there’s the couple whose car breaks down and through a mixture of sheer boredom and no sense of direction both sleep with the same transvestite (The Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Take our advice. Enjoy being single. Treat yourself to a trip to Chichester and remind yourself that your own life is pretty good by comparison. You won’t go far wrong with the enduringly fabulous Michael Ball appearing soon in Jerry Herman’s wonderful Mack and Mabel. Tickets are on sale from later this month and will sell quickly.