The Irregulars

The Irregulars, 8 episodes on Netflix

My television streaming was not all it could have been over the past year. I had some technical difficulties with my Smart TV, which I’ve only just recently corrected with the purchase of an Amazon Fire Stick.

So, while not quite making up for lost time, my TV intake has been somewhat strategic. Admittedly, the timing of the Fire Stick acquisition likely had to do with the release of Godzilla vs. Kong. I couldn’t abide the thought of viewing this long-awaited monster movie through a choppy stream. I’m happy to report zero technical difficulties with the streaming. Narrative wise, I was disappointed that the story was weighted toward Team Kong, and that I did not hear one good Godzilla roar. But it was entertaining, and — spoiler alert — the intro of MechaGodzilla was fun and worked for the story.

But, as the title of this post is not Godzilla vs. Kong, rather, The Irregulars, let me get to it. Searching for something else to watch, The Irregulars caught my fancy. It’s a take on Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars, set in the 19th century but infused with 21st century sensibilities. It features four kids of the street and one posh outsider, who are hired by John Watson to investigate some paranormal happenings.

In The Irregulars, Holmes is an addict, and Watson is, at best, unreliable, and at worst, villainous. Ultimately, it was the chemistry of the five Irregulars that really made this show stand out to me. You get the compelling backstory on all of them, except for Spike, played charmingly by McKell David. There was nothing mysterious about him, you just get the sense that he aligned himself with sisters Bea (Thaddea Graham) and Jessie (Darci Shaw), and their friend Billy (Jojo Macari), after the three of them left the work house they had been in since childhood. In a later episode, Spike refers to himself as the skeleton of the group — the one who holds them all together. I loved this.

The posh outsider turns out to be Prince Leopold (Harrison Osterfield), the youngest son of Queen Victoria. I loved this storyline, too.

The first episode ended with the introduction of what I thought was a tired old trope, which was puzzling in a story with so many fresh elements. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed enough to stop watching. The trope wound up turning on its head, and I think this successfully redeemed the originality of The Irregulars.

If I am to believe the Internet, there will be a second season of The Irregulars. I’m looking forward to seeing what the showrunners come up with next.

Hadestown

“A deeply resonant and hopeful theatrical experience.” A Google search of Hadestown provides this description under the “About” tab. To me, it’s very apt.

Musicals don’t typically make my must-see list. I love music, and I enjoy theater, but it has to be something pretty special for me to want to see the two merged together. I’ve seen my share of operas, but I always think of Richard Gere’s quote, as Edward Lewis from Pretty Woman: “People’s reaction to opera the first time they see it is very dramatic. They either love it or hate it. If they love it, they will always love it. If they don’t, they may learn to appreciate it, but it will never become part of their soul.” I definitely fall into the “I’ve learned to appreciate opera” category.

But I digress. This is supposed to be about Broadway musicals, not classic opera. Sometime over the summer, I heard an interview with the composer of Hadestown, Anaïs Mitchell. Several things jumped out at me from the interview:

  1. Hadestown is about Hades and Persephone. (And Orpheus and Eurydice), but, Persephone is, hands-down, my favorite Greek goddess.
  2. It features a bass voice (specifically, Patrick Page as Hades). I love a bass, and when it’s more than just an accent, it can be tremendously powerful.
  3. Anaïs Mitchell has been working on some version of Hadestown for more than a decade, and I can really relate to that kind of commitment to an idea. That’s passion, for sure.

All of this added up to me thinking, “Hadestown sounds like something pretty special. I might need to make a point to see it.” And see it I did, this past weekend during a long weekend in New York.

It did not disappoint.

Patrick Page is absolutely mesmerizing. But the whole cast really shines. Amber Gray is brilliant as Persephone; she plays her as a goddess I wouldn’t mind hanging out with. And André De Shields is a new favorite. He plays Hermes, who is the narrator and guide to Hadestown.

And it was all part of such a lovely weekend. I saw Hadestown with my sister Julie, who traveled to New York from Houston for the weekend. We were both there to see sister Elizabeth play a delightful Mrs. Hudson in “Sherlock Holmes: The Adventure of the Dying Detective.” It had been many years since either of us had seen Elizabeth in a play. And it was the first time we’d seen Elizabeth’s husband Quint perform. He made up for lost time by playing not one, but three, roles in the show.

All in all, a weekend that did not disappoint, on any front. Full of experiences that have become part of my soul. (Take that, Edward Lewis). 🙂