Thursday, March 30, 2017

Be Our Guest

Undeniably stereotypical though it is for a gay man, musicals have always been a thing of mine. From the more current favourites such as Hairspray and Book of Mormon to the more relatively obscure ones like Brigadoon and Showboat, I've loved them all equally.

Well... almost. A handful do get a special place in my heart with memorable showtunes that I  know by heart and have sung a dozen or more times all alone to myself and infrequently to quite an unappreciative audience. After all how can you possibly not tag along with the mutinous Sister Maria as she hurries up the oh-so-picturesque hillsides of Salzburg to break into song?

Or even that funny girl Belle as she walztes into the village waking everyone up with a hearty Bonjour?

Though of course our imbecilic censorship board did try their level best to spoil our chances of ever seeing the live-action retelling of the animated classic Beauty and the Beast due to their oddly homophobic stance. Just a little change, small to say the least, a little tweak in the tale that outed our suddenly homo-possible Le Fou - which our censors all feared might tempt the entire gullible audience into a heaving den of orgiastic iniquity. There really was something there that wasn't there before. Kill the Scene, they said! Kill the Scene! Irreparably foolish indeed?

Le Fou : Wait a minute, you didn't know I was gay?
Gaston : Even my horse knew. 

Yes, if only the Enchantress had seen fit to turn the imbeciles into monstrous beasts for their extreme prejudice.

But then as everyone knows - seeing how the news of the hasty, uncalled-for censorship propelled our nation into international disrepute yet again, then somebody bends ... unexpectedly. Almost magical, you would say.

Though I've always been dubious of live-action remakes since it's already been done beautifully before, I found myself immediately moved by the simple scene where Emma Watson wanders through her little village as our Belle to lament over her provincial life. Unfortunately as I realized several moments later, not everyone shares my ardent enthusiasm for the show - and even fewer knew the words to the songs.


Of course that didn't stop me from belting out Be Our Guest with the suave Lumiere - though I sensibly refrained from standing up for an encore. Like she had done more than two decades ago, our brilliant and brave Belle won me over irresistibly. Even better now that she made sure she didn't just stand by while her Beast was taking his undeserved lumps from the resident villain.

And yes just as our homophobic censors feared, the hints that Le Fou is most certainly gay have become far more overt - though still subtle enough that you can blink hard twice and miss it - but hey, we already knew all that even way back in 1991. Took him almost two decades but Le Fou finally realized he deserved much better than the abusive narcissist Gaston, even with his biceps to spare.

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