Friday, May 30, 2003

The Lakeview Lunch

Here in the Little Portugal area of Toronto, there are many fine eating emporiums. This morning I went for breakfast at the Lakeview Lunch, pictured here in a mural by Bill Wrigley, which is a hop, skip and jump away from my apartment on Dovercourt near Dundas..

I understand that this place is hip/happening. This is possibly because the 1988 Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise and Elisabeth Shue, was partly filmed inside.(Tagline: When he pours, he reigns.) Apparently, Shue dumps soup or something on Cruise's head here.

You may remember Cocktail for being the film that introduced the world to "Don't Worry, Be Happy" by Bobby McFerrin and the Beach Boys' "Kokomo." It has been described as "Top Gun without the planes."

And speaking of music and Top Gun without the planes, I'm going to be writing an article next week about "Top Gun! The Musical", which is opening at Toronto's Factory Theatre. TG!TM started off at the Fringe Festival here in Toronto last year...

The pop-culture musical send-up has long been a mainstay of Fringe Festivals. The first one I remember seeing was "Sorority Slumber Party Massacre: The Musical" back in 1997 in Winnipeg. Since, there have been dozens, and I even was in one called "Symposium", based on Plato's dialogue about love, in the 2001 Montreal Fringe Festival.

The question is, does the genre have a life beyond the Fringe? Well, "Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical" did well off-broadway, and someone's investing big bucks (8 million pounds!) to bring "The Lord of the Rings Musical" to the West End in London.

How will "Top Gun! The Musical" stack up? Well, don't worry... Not only is it a musical/pop culture hybrid, it's also metatheatre. That's right. It's about people trying to put on a musical based on Top Gun.

Hopefully, it will be better than last summer's "Cobra: The Musical", which I saw at the Montreal FF. That particular play, about GI Joe's terrorist enemies putting on Hamlet, had great potential but was instead homophobic, sexist, and - worst of all - stupid. It was literally unwatchable after the 30 minute mark. And I'm no theatre elitist. I love kitch and camp, but this was just lame. In fact, even the one female actress left the show after the Montreal performances, because it was so embarrassing being ogled and subjected to the sexist mess that was Cobra...

Will TG!TM survive outside the Fringe milieu? Stay tuned!

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