I have to admit to a bit of bias about seeing this production. I love Tori Amos, from about 16 I have been a fan, I have seen her numerous times in concert, I have all of her albums, I can still quote word for word every single line from her first two albums, and know the rest of them pretty much as well.
I have very fond memories of my friend playing the piano and me attempting to sing like Tori (please note the word attempting, I make no grand claims here). Tori was a major part of my life through my late teens and early to mid twenties, and I spent so much time listening to her work.
When ‘Professional Widow’ was remixed and became well known I was delighted, I was now able to rave about Tori in all her glory and people who know who I was talking about. Although only a couple of people really understood her and my obsession (I think I can justify using the word here).
Even now, if my husband hears me playing Tori he leaves me alone for some serious Tori time – I haven’t played any at home since I got my puppy, I suspect he may end up howling at my singing. He doesn’t like my renditions of Laura Marling.
However, Tori’s last few albums have been good, but not as awe inspiringly great as her first ones. I have been disappointed each time. I think its because she got married and had a child and became happy. Which sounds harsh and callous when you know her background and what she writes about – rape, miscarriage, etc. I still have to skip a song on ‘Little Earthquakes’ as it makes me cry, but none the less I could sing it for you now if you asked me to. But for a young woman, going through teenage angst, she really spoke to me with the rawness of her emotions.
So, when I saw that she had a musical out I immediately booked tickets for me and a friend – a friend I met doing my teaching practice (she was my mentor) that I was delighted to find out was a Tori fan- this is a key requirement for becoming a friend. It was the previews I booked tickets for, as I had to see it as soon as possible.
I was so excited, however on the day of the performance I started feeling quite anxious and nervous. What if it was rubbish and I was so disappointed? What if I got upset as I was so disappointed?
As we sat down to take our seats I actually felt physically sick. What didn’t help was I (shhhh, my little secret) don’t actually like musicals. Except Avenue Q, which was so, so funny – puppets having sex and swearing – what’s not to like!!
About 2 minutes into the performance I was crying and sat on the edge of my seat – it was so good!
At the interval I turned to my friend and hugged her (still crying) and said how it was exactly what I hoped it would be. I am really not a huggy person.
I’m not going to give a review here- there are lots of them and are very mixed. I personally cannot understand how they can be anything but glowing. As I think we have established I am not unbiased in this matter. The physicality and strength of the performers was astonishing. The story – a feminist fairy tale – hurah! With overtones of Angela Carter and programme notes written by Marina Warner it had depth and meaning and delivered a strong and – I hesitate to use the word – empowering message for women. And the set was such a clever way of dealing with a character who spends all of the first act off of the floor – it was highly impressive.
And the music! Of course, how could I forget the music? Full of all of the things which makes Tori’s music her music. I am not a musician so I do not have the language to describe it.
I really hope to get to go and see it again, at least once!
So, please forgive a fan’s enthusiasm, but please go and see this play, take the young women you know to it. Take everyone and buy a Tori album very, very soon. I recommend ‘Little Earthquakes’ or ‘Under the Pink’ as the best examples of her work.