Review: Christopher Plummer in Barrymore

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I had the chance to see Christopher Plummer in the closing night performance of Barrymore on Wednesday night at the Elgin Theatre!

I love Christopher Plummer.  I love the way he talks, and the things he says.  I love the way he commands attention, and I love the roles he plays.

He’s also hilarious.

Here’s what he had to say about (possibly) his most famous role to date:

“The world has seen (The Sound of Music) so many times. And there’s a whole new generation every year—poor kids—that have to sit through it (laughs). But it was a very well-made movie, and it’s a family movie and we haven’t seen a family movie, I don’t think, on that scale for ages. I don’t mind that. It just happened to be not my particular cup of tea.”

Seriously. That movie is really long.

On being nominated for an Oscar in 2011:

“Well, I said it’s about time! I mean, I’m 80 years old for God’s sake. Have mercy.”

On being old:

“There’s not that many old actors.  They all died.  I’m one of the last men standing! I think there’s maybe four of us.  I hope the other b……s die first”.

von trapp

The performance on Wednesday night was great.  Before the show began, we (the audience) was asked to be a part of a scene that was being filmed for a movie on John Barrymore.  We happily obliged and chit chatted the way an audience would in anticipation for a performance while they filmed.

According to my sources, it turns out that John Barrymore is Drew Barrymore’s grandfather.  She’s my fave.  It also turns out that substance abuse runs in the Barrymore family (sad face).

When the show began,  I quickly realized that it’s basically a one man show.  Plummer’s costar is offstage for the entire performance, using only his voice to portray a man helping Barrymore to learn his lines as he prepares to play Richard III. Plummer gave an incredible performance.  He made me laugh out loud, a lot, and made us feel like we were the only people in the theatre (despite the Elgin’s 1500 seats).

Barrymore

There was one downside to the entire night, and it had nothing to do with the show, and everything to do with cell phones.  From what I understand, much of the audience (including me) was there for free, on account of the Elgin wanting to fill seats for the film shoot.  So…maybe many of the audience members were not regular theatre-goers, and weren’t aware of cell phone etiquette.  Or maybe they didn’t hear the announcement telling them to turn off their phones.  Or maybe they’re normally annoying, and decided to share that side of themselves with Chris and I that night.

Whatever the reason, I heard half a dozen phones go off throughout the show.  When the show ended, we commented on the fact that the second act was incredibly short.  This led me to start a rumour after the standing ovation that Plummer probably cut the performance short because he was annoyed by the cell phones that kept going off.

So I have, of course, scoured the internet trying to see if my rumour caught on.  I don’t think it did, but I’m shocked by what I’ve found written in the Globe and Mail’s review, dated January 31, 2011:

“Unlike Barrymore at 60 […] Plummer at 81 is at the top of his game, coming off stage successes at Stratford and with as high a film profile as he’s had since The Sound of Music. I was particularly impressed by his concentration and focus here – unwavering even as a succession of cellphones went off in the audience and a truck reversed just outside the theatre doors, underscoring a side of Hamlet with an insistent uniambic beeping.”

Obviously his performance was great. I sing his praises harmoniously with the Globe and Mail.  But I can’t believe that it’s become normal–nay, expected–for such a legendary actor to have to compete with the ring of half a dozen iphones.  For shame, Canada.  For shame.

To end on a lighter note, despite my anger, I leave you with this:

Star Trek, 1991: such RANGE!

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One response »

  1. I would have not gone to this show based on the fact that it is about Drew’s granddaddy. I can’t stand that woman.
    Sidenote: Didn’t Chris have his own struggles with the bottle? I wonder if this impacts his performance/channeling of creative juices.
    ~j

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