Thursday, August 04, 2005

Open Wide! - the musical

I have a new dentist, a dimunitive man of Eastern European extraction. I'm sure some of the ladies in the village will describe him as 'an absolute poppet'.
The Mail and Express reading classes will sit in the chair in a cold sweat, fearing that he might be an illegal immigrant who is just posing as a dentist and is actually a bricklayer from Kazakhstan.
And if his broken English collides with the strong country accent of some locals, someone is going to turn up for a scale and polish and emerge with all their teeth pulled out and a bill for £3,000.

I noticed that, like every dentist I've visited in recent years, he was wearing clogs. Not the kind of clogs that my north western ancestors wore as they dragged themselves along the cobbles to the early shift at the mill on their rickets-wracked legs. These look more like something from Dr Scholl, whose wooden sandals were so popular with women when I was a child.
I assume that the reason dentists - and, for all I know, brain surgeons - are clunking around in clogs is because they minimise the harm to their feet from standing up all day.

Anyway, to distract myself when I return for my root canal work I am going to visualise the Dentists' Clog Dance which will be the big production number that closes Act One of my new West End musical, Open Wide!
A line of dentists wielding giant syringes will perform a traditional northern clog dance, re-choreographed with some contemporary touches by Matthew Bourne.
Sit down, lie back,
Tuck this tissue in your shirt
It's just a little prick
It isn't going to hurt.
Behind them a chorus line of dental nurses wearing white coats and hot pants will twirl cheerleaders' pom poms made from lengths of dental floss.
Have a rinse,
Spit, don't swallow,
Expect discomfort
Until tomorrow.
Downstage, writhing in front of the footlights, will be Les Miserables, unable to find an NHS dentist and too poor to go private, pulling their own teeth out with pliers and singing a depressing dirge-like theme that is a vivid counterpoint to the jaunty number being sung and danced behind them.

If the dentist is still dredging my canal at the final curtain (of the show, not me expiring in the chair) I shall have to move on to a consideration of the reviews for Open Wide! - the musical.
The Sun's 'Dental? It's Mental!' is sufficiently ambiguous to be used on the posters.
The Express's punning effort is also gratifying: 'The Crown Prince of musicals! You won't find a better way of filling an evening. Expect a long waiting list for this one.'
The broadsheets, however, were more damning:
'Difficult to decide who was in more pain, the cast or the audience' - The Times.
'It hasn't put me off going to the dentist but I may never go to the theatre again' - The Guardian.
And I knew it was a mistake to send free tickets to Dentistry Today: 'puts the image of patient-friendly dentistry back 100 years.'
But Tom Paulin on Newsnight Review, always unpredictable, said "A scintillating satire on the crisis in British dentistry that illuminates the public/private dichotomy at the heart of New Labour whilst brilliantly exploring the sub-text of the intimate, and some might even say erotic, relationship between dentist and patient."

'All done, Mr Lupin. That wasn't too bad, was it?'
'Not too bad? It was musical theatre at its best. Borac, you're a star!'


At 1:15 PM, Blogger cello said...

Fabulous. I'm framing this one, Willie. 'Open Wide!'is a very worthy successor to 'Springtime for Hitler' and 'What a day, What a day for an Auto-da-fe'.

I can also guess which bit of Eastern Europe Borac comes from. There is a very funny book called 'Molvania; the Land that Dentistry forgot.' I hope Borac realises what havoc he's caused by abandoning his compatriots.

But genuine sympathy on having to have root canal work done. Dentists have that tiny loo-brush implement to scrub out your canals, and, I swear, they use Harpic as well.

At 1:43 PM, Blogger Wyndham said...

"I laughed till he turned the gas off!" Jonathan Floss.

At 5:01 PM, Blogger portuguesa nova said...

This somewhat reminds me of a biographical poem, written in iambic pentameter, that my sister wrote many years ago as an ode to her orthodontist on the eve of getting her braces removed called "I Should've Been an Ice Dancer".

At 5:41 PM, Blogger Geoff said...

I would go to see it but it looks like it's one for the chattering classes.

At 2:02 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

cello, I've heard of that book and would like to read it. Borac is not his real name. I borrowed it from Ali G.
Wish you hadn't told me about that tiny loo brush. I hope it hasn't been used on a tiny loo by the tiny people that live behind the dentist's skirting board.

wyndham, I like 'Jonathan Floss'. At least he'd be able to pronounce his own name.

pn: it should have been called 'I Should Have Been English'. Then she probably wouldn't have been wearing a brace. They're still less common here than in America. (And, of course, we never, ever clean our teeth.)

geoff, I think it's one for an 'intimate space'. Like my front room.

Still haven't heard from Cameron Mackintosh.
The most surprising thing is that I wrote that piece without the help of illegal substances.


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