Pour La Gallery

by

Old Rope has not seen the film Pour La Gallery. The reason for this oversight is not due to some ineptitude or inability to work the DVD player (though I cannot), but rather because it is not a real film. Por La Gallery is a piece of musical theatre and an Argentine one to boot. Since most film versions of musicals are broadly the same as their stage counterparts – and since Old Rope has in fact seen this musical – here is a review of the non-existent film of Pour La Gallery.

Four Queens

The film (stageshow) opens with a rather crude duet that seems to serve little import other than to set up the evening’s entertainment. It becomes clear to the sleepy viewer that there is already little sense in what is taking place on the screen (stage). This production is more a series of musical vignettes rather than a coherent narrative whole. Oliver! this is not. In fact the whole play could be summed up with the subtitle: One Man’s Quest To Be In A Madonna Video. From the word go we are treated to an endless parade of fishnet tights, bowler hats, corsets and codpieces. There are legs akimbo and limbs a flingo! It’s all thrusting and a hustling, bustling and a cussing. If I didn’t know better I’d swear that whilst not rehearsing the cast were off borrowing brown babies from Far Away.

Though obviously I have not seen any  Broadway or West End shows, I would imagine the standard offered up in this home-grown production to be slightly inferior. It is, however, entertaining enough cabaret. The crowd of predominantly geriatric punters seemed in raptures over it, if that is at all possible (it’s not, this is a film remember). 

The general tone attempts to tread a middle ground between the dramatic and the light-hearted and for the most part it does not find its duel identity too problematic. It is safe to say however that, though he clearly prefers the camp and the overly dramatic, writer (and star) Anibal Pachano  is on firmer ground with his interludes of comic relief. The rambunctious number sung by three pretty and talented gals – portraying three different aspects of womanly love like a sort of Nancy if her psyche were hacked into three distinct and disparate parts – with its blend of wry observation and audience participation (if sitting on men’s knees can be described thus) has the viewer (audience) howling with laughter.  As do the vaudevillian mime artists, who put in a sterling effort and win Old Rope’s Best Bit Badge.

Legs!

When turning his sights on more serious matters, however, Pachano loses his way somewhat. The Lover & The Whore is crude, pompous, overblown and almost certainly a rather sexist portrayal of love and prostitution, whilst the business with the burkas beggars belief. A parade of women, their faces covered in shawls wiggle around in some sort of cartoonish belly-dance, before a backdrop of tear-jerking images from the Iraq and Afghan wars. Meanwhile the Prince of Persia, replete with scimitar and turban, conjures up a version of John Lennon’s Imagine that is beyond embarrassing. The whole segment was so poor in conceit and ridiculous in execution that Old Rope could not help but laugh uncontrollably throughout, much to the consternation of the present Ms Rope, who (unlike these clowns) hates to be shown up in public.

The singing and dancing stumbles to some sort of a juddering halt and our host and sometime star is wheeled out for a lengthy monologue on the nature of the show, his life on the stage and lord knows what else. Though a trifle unusual, this prolonged ego-trip is handled relatively well, delivered with wit and aplomb by a man who has no dearth of experience in front of a crowd. Despite this, one cannot help but wonder if the producers simply ran out of material to take the show to a decent running time.

Anibal Pachano is a very small man, standing approximately two feet tall and dressed in a luxuriously theatrical and camp suit, he is every bit the queen he wishes to be. Old Rope is not playing fast and loose with the homophobia here, Pachano is openly bragging about it in his turquoise finery, dismissing the attempts of his junior actors to outshine him. “They are not the queen. I am the queen” he drawls, each word curling off his lips with a sensuality only possible for a stunted gay thespian in a crown. And in terms of non-existent musical films that Old Rope has not seen, he certainly is the queen to my austere and regal king.

I give Pour La Gallery one Tate and a National.

 

Backstage video
Website of the show

Footnote: And no I do not know why it is “Pour” after the French word, rather than “Por” the Spanish word

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15 Responses to “Pour La Gallery”

  1. Pour The Gallery, Pour Me Another Drink « Old Rope Says:

    […] Rope has penned another review of the Agoraphobic Reviewer for those interested in reading reviews of unseen films. This time it is actually for a dollop of […]

  2. johnlebaptiste Says:

    “A parade of women, their faces covered in shawls wiggle around in some sort of cartoonish belly-dance, before a backdrop of tear-jerking images from the Iraq and Afghan wars”

    I know that such distinctions as truth and fiction have no currency on the AR, but is the above true? Tell me it is!

    Limbs a-flingo!

    I once went to Les Miserables. It was pretty good. They constructed a gigantic ore-French Revolution barricade on the stage and the cast scuttled all over it like post-apocalyptic mutant rat-people while singing like that flying man on the Go Compare adverts.

  3. oldrope Says:

    Though obviously I have not seen Les Mis (or simply Les to his close pals) this is not only exactly how I imagine it to be, but how I imagine all West End musicals to be.

    I can confirm that all the above be verily correct and true. ALL of it.

  4. johnlebaptiste Says:

    That Tron header is the BEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN. I flipping love Tron and that header makes me feel as if I am in it right now. I mean it. It’s genius.

  5. oldrope Says:

    You are in it right now. I am whizzing round leaving little farts of colour behind me as we speak, aren’t you…? Look, there’s Jeff!

  6. dangerousmeredith Says:

    in all seriousness, I think I have been in shows like this one

  7. oldrope Says:

    Like Pour La Gallery, or like Tron. Though in many ways they are similar…

  8. spicyeggnog Says:

    One mention of Tron and JLB whips out his floppy disk, look at him frot.

    I assume you have seen the trailers for the long awaited sequel?

  9. oldrope Says:

    Seen them? Not only have I seen them JLB rings me up and plays me them down the phone from youtube. then when the internet is cut off cos he has surpassed his limit from downloading too much grot, he bells me and acts them out. It must be costing him a fortune in transatlantic calls.

  10. Banjo Fett Says:

    JLB, yesterday: http://fernrocks.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/tron-guy.jpg

  11. oldrope Says:

    He made it himself, his mum only helped him a little bit

  12. spicyeggnog Says:

    Wow, he’s really let himself go since I saw him last.

  13. Banjo Fett Says:

    Especially round the groinal area.

  14. johnlebaptiste Says:

    You’ve got to admit though, I looked pretty fucking tron. When I uploaded into the virtual mainframe, the shit got even crazier, as you can see here:

  15. Banjo Fett Says:

    Yeah that looks the bomb. I was in the mainframe last night and some dudes were all up in my plop and I was like ‘whut’ but chumps stepped to me so I was all like ‘whut’. Anyhow I pulled a gat on they crazy bot-bots and was all like ‘whut’ until this one chump started badmouthing my mummy and I was all up in his gills.

    This is basically how it went down: http://hotimg14.fotki.com/a/84_157/144_183/screenshot1.jpg

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