We're lucky to see this, the first American production of this English play. Insightful witty scientific discussions, satirizing all aspects of university life, set in a framework that starts out somewhat didactic but becomes ultimately surprisingly warm and compassionate.
I didn't think the songs fell flat. They supplied insight into the characters' thoughts, providing additional dimensions of pathos (Sue's heartbreaking final song, for example), some necessary levity ("Gossips Song"), and irony ("The Twentieth Century"). I liked the all-cast songs, too, such as "Aldbrickham Fair" and "Everything Changes", which did help set the scene and move the plot along. I finally came to appreciate the repetition of "City of Light" and "Marygreen", as their meaning changed from naive upbeat expectation to awful truth and smothering conformity.
I appreciate you pointing out Alice Rothman-Hicks multi-dimensional portrayal of Sue. It was a very demanding role. I heard someone sitting next to me in the theater say that as she read the book, she hated Sue's character. "Why didn't she just go ahead and marry Jude? What was wrong with her?" Sue's freedom-loving, proto-feminist role is as misunderstood and feared today as it was in Thomas Hardy's day.
Great show with memorable songs -- aside from the gypsy scene you noted, which wasn't that well integrated. I forgot how much of an emotional wallop it delivered. Rand, Rabun and Henderson make this a must-see. This is what local theater is all about.
Sounds like a less-than-enthusiastic review. So why 3-1/2 stars?
The theater "...can't manage to make even passable entertainment"! Ouch! But then you say it still managed to maintain your interest, and "you got what you paid for"? So which is it? And what perturbs you most is the program insert?!? Was there no-one in the cast even worth mentioning by name? Hey, c'mon it's the middle of summer! Theater options are slim this time of year, and even a mediocre Agatha Christie gets me away from bad reality TV.
Yes, bravo to the main characters for making this old chestnut into an entertaining evening. I hadn't thought of Mitzi's (I think it was Kira Lopez, the night I watched) act as being straight from Carol Burnett, but it's an apt analogy. Although I did think Lynda Clark was channeling Lucille Ball a bit too much at times, but it was still enjoyable.
First, just a quick comment that Fred Corlett played a character named Firs, not Yasha.
I saw the play tonight, and aside from an unfortunately sparse audience (was everyone else in Raleigh watching the NCAA tournament?), I thought the performances were wonderful.
As for the play itself, I've never seen a Chekov play before, and I can see that the plot may at first appear to lack relevance for today's audience. Although from a historical perspective, it is an interesting commentary of the class structure in late 19th-century Russia, its characters' hopes and dreams are surprisingly contemporary and universal.
I wasn't bothered by the Asian percussion tracks during the scene changes. I appreciated the Asian touches, such as the 4 stylized paintings across the rear of the stage representing the 4 seasons, and the almost absurd number of cherry blossoms coming from seemingly everywhere. But I'm not sure it enlightened me on the significance of the play itself, other than perhaps that Japan comes to mind when one thinks of cherry blossoms.
All Comments »
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation