Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Simply Adequate

A brief interlude from the stress and worry of the past few weeks... The family and I did a quick overnighter in Toronto this past weekend. Since we really hadn't done much vacation-stuff this Summer, the 4 of us had planned a mini-vacation to The Big Smoke to play at being 'tourists' for a few days.

The plan: spend the inheritance on tickets to Spamalot and then cash-in a free family pass to the venerable Ontario Science Center. We'd separate the 2 events with a stay in a moderately affordable hotel (anything with a pool). Since the kids had never seen big-time theater and had never seen a taxpayer-funded tourist trap, we figured this a fresh, new experience for us all.

Spamalot was simply... adequate. Maybe it was our mental state, but the play just did not live up to its hype and price tag. The kids had a good time; laughing mightly at the killer rabbit, etc. I knew they would. Dee and I, on the other hand, just felt like it was mostly... okay. Not bad, not great; just okay. I don't really know what we expected, but it was pretty much verbatim set-pieces from the Python movie with often pitch-perfect delivery from the original. Somehow, it came off looking like bad vaudeville. I wonder if it's better for those without a rich appreciation for all things Pythonesque.

As for the Science Center, it sucked - hard. I hadn't been there in many, many years - but I sold it Big Time to the kids as a cool, hands-on experience. Alas, most of the exhibits (and I mean, like, almost 50%) were literally busted, broken, ex-exhibits. What struck me were the almost-garish marketing throughout the facility; posters, banners, floor decals, many flat-screen TVs. If the Center spent half as much on up-keep as they do on telling you how wonderful the place is supposed to be, we'd have an impressive resource. But it's anything but impressive these days. I just thank goodness we had a freebie pass instead of shelling out something like $60 to see the place (which doesn't include entry into their IMAX theater!).

On the plus side, the hotel was reasonable - and they had a great pool. The kids got to ride a subway for the first time and wander downtown TO for a bit. I think they've taken their first step towards loathing Toronto like all good non-Torontians. I'm so proud.