Posts Tagged ‘Les Mis’

Photo: The Telegraph.
The United Kingdom’s Marsh family has been singing spoofs of popular songs since the beginning of the pandemic.

Probably at some point during the pandemic, you saw the Marsh family’s early 2020 spoof of the song “One Day More” from Les Miserables. But did you know the funny, sometimes off-key, UK family has kept going?

Isabella Kwai has the backstory at the New York Times. “The family of six is lined up in front of microphones, ready to perform. The stage: their living room, complete with flowery curtains and family photos. The costumes: for the children, pajamas and bathrobes. The song: Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 raspy-voiced power ballad ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ [below], tweaked for the pandemic era.

“ ‘Third lockdown,’ the father croons, before his son Alfie cuts in: ‘2021 … and it’s a little bit lonely, no one’s ever coming ’round.’

“Meet the Marshes — Ben, Danielle, and their four children Alfie, 14, Thomas, 13, Ella, 11 and Tess, 9 — a family from the English town of Faversham that has gained unexpected fame for their revamped, tongue-in-cheek cover tunes about life in times of Covid. This six-voice choir, with its sweet harmonies and the occasional wobbly note, is creating songs that dramatize the mundane moments of lockdown life, from too much screen time to the horrors of remote learning.

” In their version of ‘One Day More,’ from the musical Les Misérables, the parents groan about grocery shopping online during the first lockdown as the children lament: ‘Our grandparents can’t Skype, we’re brokenhearted.’ …

“And with England crawling through a third national lockdown, they felt the time was ripe for ‘Total Eclipse’ — ‘Used to be bright eyes. Struggling to tell the days apart. Now we’re Lords of Flies.’ …

“In a time when there has been little cause for celebration, the Marshes are just some of the many people around the world who have embraced music as a way to boost morale or income, and to cope with a pandemic that has confined many people inside. During the first wave, Italians sang from their balconies, mariachi bands in Mexico played in the streets, and the percussion of people banging pots to celebrate frontline workers became a nightly soundtrack in New York and other cities.

The Marshes have not limited themselves to song; their performances have included moments of bickering, dance — captioned ‘interpretive angst dance’ — and dramatic flourishes that have amused an audience around the world.

“ ‘This is the first thing that made me not just smile but laugh out loud,’ said one fan online who had been depressed about Germany’s extending restrictions. ‘Can you adopt me?’ another joked.

“The fame is new but the singing isn’t. Mr. Marsh, 44, and Mrs. Marsh, 43, who both work at the University of Kent, met as students at Cambridge, where they sang in low-budget university productions. Reworking lyrics was a family affair even pre-pandemic. … The difference is those earlier spoofs were mainly for their own entertainment. Then the pandemic hit.

“In late March [2020], the family was searching for ways to celebrate some birthdays that suddenly had to go remote, including that of Mrs. Marsh’s mother. Their gift, they decided, would have to go virtual.

“ ‘There was no schoolwork, there was no nothing,’ Mrs. Marsh said. ‘That’s when the music became a focus for us all.’ …

“So now they’re famous, but are they cool? Well, no, Mr. Marsh said. ‘I think if we tried to do “cool,” it would all fall apart.’ But at a time when ‘so few can sing together in one place,’ the family members hope to use their sudden fame, which Mr. Marsh called ‘bewildering and incredible,’ to do some good.

“They said they are donating the proceeds from guest appearances to the W.H.O. Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which supports efforts to end the pandemic, and Save the Children. But recently they also decided to take a chance by encouraging people to get vaccines, a departure from their more comedic fare. …

“How did they deliver the message? Try replacing ‘Hallelujah’ in Leonard Cohen’s iconic song with this: ‘Have the new jab. Have the new jab. Have the new jab. Have the new-ew-ew-ew jab.’ (Sung by Tess, in fuzzy p.j.’s, as her father strums the guitar.) …

“ ‘I would have never spent this much time with my 14-year-old,’ said Mrs. Marsh.”

More at the New York Times, here.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: