Thursday, October 20, 2011

One Man Two Guvnors: Manchester England England

Since all the reviews were overwhelmingly positive about One Man Two Guvnors, I took this as a positive sign and booked a ticket in....Manchester England England across the Atlantic sea...and then a hotel and then a train ticket.  So it was a bit of a leap to go see a show on the road in the UK.

The National Theatre tours around some of its shows to the regional theaters in the UK.  One Man Two Guvnors had completed its sold out run at the National Theatre and was embarking on this tour before returning to the West End...and possibly Broadway.

My friend and I therefore schlepped out to Salford outside of Manchester to a gorgeous complex called The Lowry (see Media City in Salford below).


We had fantastic seats and the show opens with a skiffle band* playing.  They play at various intervals during the show as well.

The star of the show is James Corden (another History Boy) who I know from the fantastic TV series he co-writes and stars in called Gavin and Stacey.  I highly recommend you check it out on iTunes.  It is fantastic.


Anyhoo...James Corden plays Francis, an overweight and always hungry bloke, who takes on two jobs as an assistant--one as "muscle" for a gangster and another as a runner for a posh-upper crust twit.  Francis is not very bright so managing his tasks for these "two guvnors" is challenging.  The show is adapted from an Italian playwright who was in turn inspired by commedia dell arte.  There are characters who directly address the audience, lots of physical comedy and not much plot.  But the physical comedy is amazing.



There were moments that reminded me of watching the Carol Burnett show when I was little.  Especially where the actors were trying to crack each other up and the other actors were trying to stay in character.


Corden, Oliver Chris, as the posh guvnor, Tom Edden as an ancient waiter and Daniel Rigby as a melodramatic actor stood out.  Jemima Rooper sadly was less successful.  She did her part just fine but she didn't have a comedienne's rhythm or delivery.


I did not think I would like a show that was little plot and mostly physical comedy but I think it was Corden who sells this.  He's lovable and charming.  He has a few bits of audience interaction and makes that delightful.

I know they have discussed bringing the show over to Broadway but my friend and I found it to be very English.  There were a lot of references to people and places we didn't know.  The accents employed were also pretty thick with a lot of dialect thrown in the mix.  We happened to be at a captioned performance and frankly we were grateful for the captions in the end because there were points where we needed them!  I think it could transfer but I think it might need to be adapted a little for US audiences.



*Weirdly enough they mentioned John Lennon playing in a skiffle band in Backbeat so finally when I was spending time with my friend's Mom and her boyfriend in Newcastle I asked them what a skiffle band was.  It is apparently something akin to a jug band or a bluegrass band with washboards etc...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Crazy For You: Suffering from a Lack of Colin Donnell

I decided in a last minute switch of tickets to see Crazy For You.  I had heard good things about this production that started this summer at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park.  It transferred to the West End and I had never seen the 1992 Broadway production.  They had half price tickets available so I scooped one up (I also noticed, after I bought my ticket, that they had day tickets for less).


Frankly I was a little disappointed.  It is a perfectly fine musical but I felt like it paled in comparison to Anything Goes.  There could be a couple of reasons for this.  First off, it is a thin story (albeit like AG) hung together with Gershwin music.  Second, I felt like the leads in this production just didn't have the sizzle and charisma of Sutton Foster and Colin Donnell.  Certainly these are iconic songs but the performances were just ok.  I wanted something a little more than ok. The voices were all perfectly fine but the interpretations were a little flat.  It felt very textbook.  Nothing was wrong but nothing was unique to the performers.  Third, I might just hate Ken Ludwig.  I'm not sure...I will get back to you on that.  

It is definitely a hokey musical and makes no apologies for that but that is all the more reason the cast and the voices have to be fantastic.  The production uses the original Susan Stroman choreography.  There are sparkling costumes and a fun set.  But nothing made it feel special.

For a revival, I always ask the question--why revive this work now.  In this particular instance, I can see London audiences lapping up the exuberance of this particular show but for me, having already seen a toe-tapping, exuberant Anything Goes in New York, this was somewhat repetitive and lacking for me. 

There is nothing bad about this show.  There just isn't anything great about it either. 






Friday, October 14, 2011

Backbeat: Hot Guys, Beatles, Yeah Yeah Yeah

I liked the Iain Softley film, Backbeat, that came out in the 1990's so I was curious about the stage show version.  More curious when I learned David Leveaux would be directing.  The cast was largely unknown to me, but there was a History Boy in it which these days feels like the imprimatur of quality--something like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval.

I should say for the record that I am apparently collecting History Boy performances without actually seeing The History Boys.  I saw Dominic Cooper and Russell Tovey in His Dark Materials.  I saw James Corden in One Man Two Guvnors.  And Andrew Knott was in Backbeat.

I should be up front about saying I have nothing for or against the Beatles.  I worked on the re-release of Hard Day's Night and got to work a little with the original producer Walter Shenson who was a doll (a 103 year old doll).  I remember seeing that movie and thinking about the "young" Beatles" when it seemed all light and fun.  In some ways that is a nice way to approach Backbeat as well.  It is the story of how the band came together, who ended up in and who ended up out, and the "love" triangle between John Lennon, Stu Sutcliffe, and Stu's girlfriend Astrid.  It was about the boys who became the Beatles and not about the Beatles, if that makes sense.  And that unto itself is a really fascinating and exciting world to explore.  Before they were icons, who were these boys.  Great hook. 

The visual look of the show was intriguing.  A lot of projections were used to convey Stu's paintings, Astrid's photography etc...I liked this and I think it helped develop some of the creative background to the characters. 

The main performers were all terrific (well I was not a huge fan of Ruta Gedmintas as Astrid but it's hard role to make likable and the ensemble was very caricaturish).  BUT...and this is a big BUT...the story just was not there.  It felt like it was a rough outline of a story thinly strung together with a bunch of rock and roll musical numbers.  The musical numbers started to feel repetitive and they did not move the story along.  In fact, I wished they'd stop playing for a moment so the characters could talk.  Later as the band starts to become the Beatles the songs change and that is important but it comes a little late in the game.

It's too bad because there is so much potential and so much talent involved in this show.  And it's full of hot young guys!  There is no reason I should be the only person under the age of 60 in the audience.  This should be marketed both to Beatles fans and girls.  Do they not know they have a cast of adorable guys who sometimes take their shirts and pants off.  Yes ladies, naked butts.  You are welcome. 

Andrew Knott was fantastic as John Lennon.  He's charismatic, funny, and driven.





Nick Blood plays Stu Sutcliffe.  He's gorgeous (see below) but is given very little to do. 



He just stands around and smokes cigarettes (more cigarettes smoked in this show than in any other show I have ever seen).  I mean he looks great doing it but it's like they replaced character development with cigarettes.  Give the poor boy something to say or do.  I mean, thank you for taking his shirt off a bunch, but you could also give him some dialogue sometimes.  It would be nice to know what he is thinking between cigarettes.

At the end of the show they try to get the audience to stand up and dance along...and at that moment (me awkwardly in the front row) I realized someone is thinking this is a jukebox musical.  And technically it is.  But certainly not why I was there.  I stood up and "danced" much to the horror of the cast I am sure.  But I don't think this show needs to be JUST a jukebox musical.  Frankly it would be a lot more compelling with less songs and more story...or god forbid link the songs to the story.  I know I am asking for a lot.  But you have a handful of incredibly talented people there...give them a chance!

There is so much that Backbeat could be but it is just not there yet.  I would love the producers to call me to discuss this.  Because I think they've got a great start but it needs work...and more nudity.  #kidding #wellsortof #kidding 



My City: Tom Riley Charms Everyone's Pants* Off

I booked tickets to My City before I heard about the cast and I was pleased to discover that Tom Riley, late of Arcadia on Broadway, would be one of the leads.  I became obsessed with Arcadia for most of the spring.  It is by far my favorite play of all time and the Broadway production was a wonderful interpretation, largely due to Tom Riley's wonderful turn as Septimus.

So I was excited to discover I would have another opportunity to see him in a show.

My City is an unusual ode to teachers and special students they influenced.  The premise is that Richard (Riley) stumbles upon his old primary school teacher (Tracey Ullman) lying on a park bench and discovers she wanders the city by night.  This teacher was a major inspiration to him and he cannot quite figure out what has set her on this new path. The play was written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff.  Though a well-known UK playwright and TV writer, I was not terribly familiar with his work.

The play focuses on the stories that the teachers used to tell the children and these are some of the best bits of the play.  The focus is on how these teachers through these stories helped children who struggled and the stories gave them a window on the world. Though the teachers are now older (and so are the "children") they continue to revel in telling stories that spook, chill and maybe even inspire. 

Tom Riley really does a nice job with the role.  Without revealing too much, I was surprised by the character's journey and he handles the performance with aplomb.  He has shown that in both Arcadia and My City he can charm the pants off the audience.  He can make duplicity sweet and forgivable.  I enjoyed seeing him in a contemporary work and frankly I hope he returns to Broadway again soon. 

The other former student, played by Sian Brooks, is also fantastic.  She's a more straight-forward character but Brooks in a dynamic and compelling way conveys the character's fierceness and inner strength.

I struggled more with the story the writer was trying to tell about the teachers.  Things got really murky really quickly.  Of course, teachers are people too but here the writer drifted into a mysterious place with these teachers. Sadly,  I was more confused than intrigued. David Troughton was heart-breaking and although I am still a little puzzled about what was happening with his character.  Tracey Ullman if anything was a little dull.  Her character is supposed to be enigmatic but it came across as frosty and boring.  Sorcha Cusack seemed unhinged and though that may have been the character she was playing I felt like it was weirdly out of place. 

I had read some not great reviews so my expectations were low.  In the end, I found myself largely enjoying the journey even if I did not find the work wholly satisfying.  In a season where I saw both Mark Rylance and Daniel Kitson present various types of storytellers I feel like these storytellers suffered in comparison.  But on it's own merit, it was sweet, sad, heart-breaking, and moving at various points and was certainly worth the time.

*For the record, and quite sadly, no pants (UK or US meaning of the word) were actually physically charmed off anyone in the show but metaphoric pants (US and UK) definitely. 

**For the record, I use the words "pants" a lot I have discovered.  This would be fine except I mean trousers and in the UK they mean underpants and I often sound a lot more salacious here than I mean to.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Terrible Advice: Scott Bakula Takes Off His Shirt

The very best thing about Terrible Advice at the Menier Chocolate Factory is that Scott Bakula takes off his shirt.  Thankfully it is the opening scene but it is all downhill from there.

Scott Bakula actually gives an interesting performance that seemed very similar to character he plays in Men of a Certain Age.  He's supposed to be the sex object in the show so they play up the shirtless scene.  But unlike MOACA, where his character is knocked down a lot by life, here he is skating by on looks and the generosity of his girlfriend without having to deal with the consequences of that.

I guess it was supposed to be a "sexy" "comedy" but it was neither sexy nor funny.  Basically two wholly unlikeable guys are best friends and often give terrible advice to each other about relationships.  They are dating relatively unlikeable women. I had read reviews that said it was sit-com material but this was raunchy sit-com material without laughs.  Really there is no greater crime in my book of theatrical criminal acts than a comedy without laughs (that's probably a lie...I bet there are a lot of major crimes in my book of theatrical criminal acts...)

I cannot blame the actors in the show.  They were all doing the best they could with awful material.  Also high marks to the UK cast for their American accents which did not slip and were not distracting.  However, this is the type of show that makes me wonder what drew the actors in in the first place.

The first Act was an utter disaster.  If the theater was not so small and intimate and if I wouldn't have had to run across the middle of the stage to do so I probably would have left.  The second Act improved some because the characters were finally forced to deal with their bad choices and the consequences of their actions.  The final scene in fact was quite touching and gave some nuance to the two male leads.  But it was a long road to get there.  I would have liked to have seen any glimmer of this humanity in the characters at some point before this.

Caroline Quentin was a stand-out.  She gives a very ballsy, funny performance and with a show lacking in laughs it was a welcome relief.  I credit the laughs to her performance than from any of the lines she had to deliver.  

I had wanted to see a show at the Menier and it was a great place for a show.  You are very close to the stage and I cannot imagine how shows like La Cage and Sunday in the Park with George started out in this tiny venue.  I really wish Pippin was playing now and not this play but...you can't always get what you want.

Suffice to say, I will look out for these actors in other stage material but I do not expect this play to transfer to the US.


Daniel Kitson: My Eyes are Leaking

I caught Daniel Kitson's show at the National Theatre last night called It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later.  You know that I planned my whole trip to London to see this show.  It did not disappoint. 

Kitson came out in a smart outfit (ooo suspenders) picked up his mic and then spent about 5 minutes trying to attach it to himself.  It was one of a few improv moments of the evening but a good reminder that Kitson was a stand-up and can find humor in even the smallest things.  The set consisted of a chair, a small ladder, a mug and a series of naked light bulbs that hung from the ceiling.

The story consisted of two stories that Kitson wove together: one of William and one of Caroline.  It was not a love story he insisted even if there was love in his story (just as he said the Bible was not a book about woodworking).  The focus and premise was to spend the evening exploring the moments of these two lives.  Each light bulb was a moment in time. 

With lightening speed, Kitson launched into the show.  His verbal alacrity is incredible.  He speaks so quickly that it would be nearly impossible to comprehend every word spoken.  I felt afterwards as if I had some sort of mental whiplash.  I found myself with a comprehension rate of about 1 in 4 words.  But even at that rate, my mind was blown by the humor, pathos and beauty of the work.  I think if one managed to comprehend every word he spoke, one would actually reach nirvana.  But none of us are at that point of enlightenment.  We are just not ready.
 
And let's face it he knows he has us wrapped around his little finger.  There were a few moments where be made mistakes and stopped the show to basically tell us he screwed up but that he was fully aware none of us could have even figured that out.  It is like watching a mathematician of the highest order tell you he made a mental miscalculation and you're still trying to figure out what algebra is (as an aside I stabbed myself once with a protractor in geometry class which says just about everything about me and math).  There is something utterly charming about the self-deprecation and the honesty of even those moments.  Like he knows he's a genius but it would be rude to not admit even geniuses make mistakes even if they are undetectable to mere mortals. 

The strength of this particular piece is that it feels as if Kitson has the god-like ability to turn on the audio of humanity's inner monologue.  He amplifies the thoughts, fears, dreams and musings of the unspoken but most poignant moments of life (and even some of the banal moments).  He shines a light (and here quite literally a light bulb) on the unexplored moments of our lives and as an audience member you cannot help but find yourself in these moments.

He would often hold his hands out around a light bulb as if he were a magician conjuring a flame and the story would burst forth from that flame.  His language is so potent and rich that he can take the emptiness in front of him and with words make people, places, colors, sounds and smells just come to life before your eyes.  He can even make the word "dickbag" seem poetic (lest we not forget much of what he says and how he says it is hilarious).

I feel I keep overusing the word genius when I talk about him but how can a stranger make me feel so naked, so stripped of pretense with all my personal thoughts so exposed.  Of course, they are not really my personal thoughts...they are his words.  But he makes them feel so universal and yet so individual.  It's as if he was holding up a mirror and showing me parts of myself I had denied even existed only to see them staring back at me in that mirror.  At some point in the show tears began to leak from my eyes.  I cannot even tell you when or why.  

The worst part of a Daniel Kitson show is that at some point it must end.  It is almost really the point of this show.  One can hold onto the last words but every life must end.  So, Kitson finished his story.  The lights went out.  He left the stage.  No bow.  No curtain calls.  When it is over, it is over.  He cannot give you more than he has given already and it is really more than enough, greedy little bastards. 

So in the end, it is just me a sobbing puddle.  I regret nothing.

I recommend you buy tickets to the show for St. Ann's Warehouse in January 2012.  I'm not sure I am the most neutral observer at this point but I brought a friend who had never heard of him or seen his work and she too was a sobbing mess at the end as well.  She's a stand-up comedian and was thoroughly impressed with him.  Of course, what the hell do we know.  You just have to see it for yourself. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Decade: 9/11 Ten Years Later

I was hesitant to check out Rupert Goold's Decade in London.  After all the 9/11 ten year anniversary hoopla last month, I was starting to feel like I had some breathing room from it.  Frankly I have been struggling with my feelings about 9/11 for 10 years.  I have said repeatedly that I still don't have any perspective on what happened.  I thought maybe a play written by a variety of authors and produced in England might give me some perspective.  The producer of the show was the Headlong Theatre company.  They were the ones behind Enron.



The show is staged in a "site-specific" office building.  The audience sits in "Windows on the World"  around dinner tables with views of the Empire State Building and the harbor from 110 stories up in the air.  There is a circular raised "dance floor" in the middle of the dining room and the performances take place there, on top of various tables, and above the audience's heads behind a wall of glass where it looks like office spaces would be.  Upon entering the "theater" space, you are sent through a metal detector and are surrounded by the post-2001 era TSA signs that reflect the extreme changes put in place after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  It is a fantastic approach and setting and did not come off as gimmicky.  In fact, it made the show a lot more intimate and engaging.

The work is essentially a series of short plays woven together in theme and unfortunately it comes off as choppy and disjunctive.  Some of the connecting scenes are dance/movement/musical sequences.  Unexpectedly, those were the most effective for me.
Maybe there is something about this event that words cannot express yet movement and theater are well-suited for.  I generally do not like dance and often find it hard to connect to the narrative.  But here, the narrative is so well-known and words so ineffectual that watching people covered in dust standing at a glass wall contemplating their death is pretty much all you need to see or say.

Perhaps an hour long version of just those sequences with some narrative ones interspersed might have been, on the whole, more successful.  Instead it was 3 hours of various short plays and movement.  There are scenes about widows, there are scenes about Muslim deli owners, there are scenes about the memorial, and about the death of bin Laden.  But rather than developing characters to invest in or even connect with emotionally, the brevity of each scene and sequence made it very hard to connect.   Most of the play was focused on life after 9/11.  How people have coped, or not.  How our world has changed, or not.  But the most emotional scenes were the scenes of what the director/authors imagine was happening in the building that day.  The lighting, sound, music and movement of people trying to break the glass and get out of the building was incredibly powerful and well-staged.

Unfortunately the program did not connect which author with which segment so I cannot tell you which authors I thought really achieved something with their pieces.

The main through line of the show was a series of scenes with 9/11 widows from 2011 back to 2000.  They follow three women who meet up every year on the anniversary and as time moves on the women's feelings about the anniversary change: anniversary fatigue, people who move on and want to forget versus those who do not.  It is an interesting and important discussion.  It is one that I often think about.  I did not think the writing really captured who those women were as people.  Instead, they came off as symbols of certain feelings about the anniversary but limited to three women who in theory came from similar backgrounds.  The New York accents were pretty bad and it was distracting.  It was the kind of moment that reminded me I was in England and non-New Yorkers were producing this show.  I wish this part had been stronger and more compelling because it was essentially the backbone of the work.  Because it did not make a strong emotional connection, I kept losing interest.  The last thing a 9/11 show should be is boring and yet this repetitive sequence was just that.

There was a kind of funny/sad sequence about the guy who sells trinkets at the memorial gift shop who tries to pick up women who come to visit the memorial.  In a show without much levity, it was actually welcome.  But I think it could have been funnier in a better actor's hands. 

There was one monologue which I am still confused about, where I think some woman tries to pretend she is a trade center survivor who lost her fiancee. The performance was really messy and I wasn't sure what was being said. 

I really liked one particular story about a State Department employee who is dating Benazir Bhutto's niece and the day Bhutto was killed.  It expressed more about how for some people life after 9/11 was no different than life before and the coldness of the niece in the face of another family member being assassinated was compelling and real.  It also took the work out of a purely US perspective and cast a more global light on the events.  Cat Simmons played the niece and I enjoyed her work throughout the show in the variety of characters she played.

Overall, the most successful narrative sequence for me, was a monologue by an IT worker who worked in the Trade Center who ended up with the day off on 9/11 and watched events unfold from his apartment in Jersey City.  The segment starring Tobias Menzies felt much more specific than the other sequences.   It didn't feel like a lecture or a symbol.  It felt like a personal, unique journey that really doesn't "mean" anything in a global sense but means everything to the person experiencing it.  The performance and the writing captured the feeling that the whole event, the whole experience was in some ways impossible to comprehend.  We can speak about it, we can describe it and we can express feelings about it but in the end our brains almost cannot process what exactly happened and our hearts will struggle with dueling feelings about it all. 

Maybe that is why I struggle with a sense of perspective.  For me the feelings are too personal to translate into something larger.  It obviously has huge political, historical and global significance, but what is that when your heart is broken or your grief is overwhelming. 

The emotional place I went on that day was to a fear I had always had as a child. My father was a firefighter and I always feared he would go to work one day and not come home.   I went to the 9/11 firefighter funerals with my Dad and his department.  It was probably the last time my father and I saw eye to eye on something.  I remember trying to meet him on Fifth Avenue at St. Patrick's Cathedral.  The entire street was a sea of firefighters in their dress uniforms, all looking remarkable similar, all with my Dad's mustache--for some reason all firefighters seem to have that mustache from time immemorial.  I panicked for a moment I would not be able to find him, like a child lost in a department store.  And then I found him and we payed our respects together.

Oddly enough Decade made very little reference to the firefighters and rescue workers who died.  It was a surprising absence.  

In trying to make sense of the incomprehensible, Decade offers many different experiences to connect to but I think on the whole it is an interesting experiment with only middling success.  That said, I would check out other works by Headlong in the future. 









Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Submission: Groff is Buff

I have been traveling but I caught The Submission before I left town.  Now that it has opened, here is my take...

I should say up front I am relatively neutral on Jonathan Groff.  As an actor I only saw him in Spring Awakening and I hated that show with the fire of 1000 suns.  I could barely assess his performance because I was so enraged at the terrible material.  I watched the first season of Glee but it jumped the shark for me pretty early on and I think they shoot him in such a way that it makes his eyes look too close together.  And no one should be judged for their acting on that terrible terrible show.  They all should just hide in a cave and repent for their sins of being on Glee.

That said, I heard he was doing this new play The Submission and figured it was about time to see him as an actor.

Plot: A young white, gay male playwright, Danny, writes a play about a black family and successfully gets a staging of the play at the Humana festival using a black woman's name as the author.  He decides he need to perpetuate the ruse or else they will pull the plug on his show, so he hires an actress, Emilie, to play the role of the female black playwright.  Comedy does not ensue.

I'm going to say up front.  This is a poorly written play and the initial premise is so hard to accept that it's hard to stay on board for most of the show.  I could see a writer submitting it under another person's name and then revealing themself after the play was chosen but going so far as to hire an actress to play the author...and play this author who claims to be really attached to his play was just a hard pill to swallow.  It did not add up.

However, there were some really interesting questions in the material, that the actual playwright of The Submission did not explore fully.  I was intrigued by Emilie's struggle and plight.  It is a small part of the play but her emotional journey of being an actress finally being in a room where amazing creative artists are working and where she is getting to participate in creating something she believe in is really powerful when ultimately she realizes she's only there because of Danny's ruse.  Her emotional investment was really compelling and Rutina Wesley gave some serious gravitas to a role that I thought was largely underwritten.  

Everything else however was an unmitigated mess...the themes, messages, relationships of the characters.  I really wondered why did these actors signed on to this work.  I had moments where the show reminded me of Oleanna in the worst ways possible.  It was trying to explore interesting questions about race, racism, ownership of struggle and where we are today in America.  But this writer is not David Lindsay-Abaire.  Good People did all these things so well and with humor, care and love.  As much as the characters joke about the landmines of these conversations, I felt like I was watching the author of this play step on a number of those landmines.  Leaving aside the dangerous ground he was treading on, I think the greatest sin here is just writing a not very good play.  You cannot ask people to spend an hour and forty minutes with people who you as the author don't even seem to like very much. 

The show left me with many questions but not the ones I think the author intended.  I wanted to know why Danny was so ambitious to get his play produced any way he could but still so willing to hand it off to someone else to act as the writer.  I didn't think the role was written well enough to communicate why he made that choice.  The relationship between Danny and his boyfriend Pete is strange.  I could not get a handle on who they were as a couple, why they were together.  I think the playwright was trying to say something about them...but I haven't a clue what.  Danny's best friend, another playwright Trevor was, I think, supposed to be somewhat secretly in love with Danny.  Sadly the actor portraying him, Will Rogers, just didn't emote anything.  The entire play I wondered what was going on in that character's head.    Without richly drawn characters, trying to have those characters discuss race and racism becomes an exercise in futility. 

Groff did a fine job in his role in a poorly written play.  He has sparkly blond hair and is in a buff phase.  Definitely pecs and biceps bursting out of his T-shirt...if that's what you want to see. 

Rutina Wesley was great and I'd like to see her in something better.