It's not quite Parliament: The Musical!, but it's close: Liveblogging the Black and White Gala at the NAC

Really, how could ITQ be expected to turn down an opportunity to see Stockwell Day do Gilbert and Sullivan? The curtain goes up at 8pm, so check back tonight for the all the light operatic action.

7:37:20 PM
Well, I’m here – and so far, the whole event is exactly as dazzling and ever so slightly discombobulating as you might think, what with the tuxedos and the gowns and the many, many faces I almost but not quite recognize from your more elegant Hill function, which ITQ usually only ends up attending when she wanders in by mistake. It’s definitely a distinctly older crowd – which I guess isn’t really all that surprising, considering the scandalously slight exposure to Gilbert and Sullivan that most of us get these days. Anyway, I’m in the theatre now listening to the orchestra warm up, which never fails to boost that sense of delicious anticipation that you get just before partaking of a rarely-indulged pleasure. Eee!

I hope I don’t drive the lovely twin Miss Marples sitting next to me entirely crazy by typing away throughout the show. If I’m found stabbed to death with a knitting needle, you’ll know why.

7:53:17 PM

You know, I’m really not sure why box seats are considered so much more desireable than the orchestra pit. You’re so much further from the stage – and yes, I know you have the arial view to make up for it, but still. It would be different if this was, you know, the Globe Theatre, and we lower decksters were surrounded by slatterns and cutthroats and other disagreeable companions, but this is a pretty genteel crowd.

8:01:17 PM
The three gentlemen next to me are discussing “the Obama thing” in slightly frantic tones. Nobody tell Andrew Coyne.

8:02:01 PM
There we go — the official warning, telling us to turn off cell phones (but not liveblogging devices, ITQ presumes) and reminding us not to take photos.

8:02:42 PM
The conductor is here! That was quick.

8:03:56 PM
And there’s Don Newman – who is one of our hosts, and begins with — of course — a welcome to the broooooadcast, and an awesome bit of faux timefilling that must be particularly enjoyable given the nineteen or so hours that he was doing just that on O-Day.

8:06:47 PM
You know, I shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that there is such a crossover between Politics (and politics) fans, and Gilbert and Sullivan aficianados, as the reaction Don Is getting makes clear.

8:14:37 PM
Dancing! Apolitical dancing! Will update when toes stop twitching reflexively.

8:19:53 PM
Peter Mansbridge! On stage, but hasn’t yet spoken – he and Lloyd Robertson and – damn, I missed the last name – are at a faux newsdesk to the side of the stage.

8:21:12 PM
Ooh, they start with a pointed skit involving the infamous gala comment by the Prime Minister during the election — Mansbridge plays it perfectly straight, and the applause is wildly enthusiastic, if a little looking-over-your-shoulder-nervously.

8:25:12 PM
Oh, relax. They’re making Ignatieff jokes and Layton jokes too. And a Mike Duffy crack to boot — which leads to the promised Stockwell Day cameo, who interrupts him to say that, by order of the GG, “this joke has been prorogued” – and marches back off stage. Aww, that was adorable.

8:32:57 PM
Pirates song – can’t remember title but know the tune – with real (ie non-stunt political singers.

8:37:31 PM
Peter Mansbridge is really, really enjoying the show. He and Lloyd keep chatting behind their hands, but he’s absolutely rapt.

Poor, Wandering One! I can sing this! Well, in the sense that I know the words. Don’t worry, I won’t.

8:48:46 PM
Back to the fauxcast – Lloyd taking lead, although he and Mansbridge make a fabulous comedic duo, as it turns out.

8:56:37 PM
It’s unfortunate for at least one of the two that “Layton” rhymes so perfectly with “Satan”.

9:02:55 PM
Hockey book jokes: Never. Get. Old.

9:21:29 PM
Okay, my apologies for such sporadic updates; I am selfishly trying to soak up every bit of the show, and slightly less selfishly trying not to spoil the whole experience for the people stuck in my row. Perhaps this is one reason why there is such sparse liveblogging of theatrical events. Parliament excepted, of course.

Also, the last set was devoted to highlights from The Mikado, and you guys? Maybe I’ve just gotten old and cynical, but Nanki-Poo is kind of a jellyfish, and I actually feel bad for Katisha. She’s not a *monster*.

(Yes, it’s intermission, in case you wondered – I’m going to see if I can grab a Diet Coke before the second half kicks off.)

9:30:57 PM
Okay, I had no idea of the following fact when I came up with the idea of liveblogging this event, but after reading the programme, in the interests of full disclosure I should note that Colleague Feschuk is credited as a writer, and why it never occured to me that of *course* he would be, I have no earthly idea.

Oh, and the third host – alongside Peter and Lloyd, that is – is Bernard Derome.

9:39:02 PM
Okay, it looks like intermission is nearly over, so expect updates to go back to – well, not too spotty, I hope, but not quite as frequent you’d expect from, say, a committee meeting. (Oh look – there’s Ted Menzies! Looking much cheerier than he usually does when fielding questions for the Finance Minister in the House.)

10:44:12 PM
Okay, so I basically bailed on y’all, and I’m sorry, but it was just too much fun to watch instead of blog. Blame Colleague Feschuk and his co-conspirators. Anyway – short version — Craig Oliver gets the award for bravest cameo for actually singing; Jack Layton definitely had the funniest spoken word bit; Peter MacKay —– is a good sport. And I’d best scamper out of this theatre before they lock the doors after what was, without question, a seriously fabulous soiree from the good folks at Opera Lyra and the NAC.

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