I’m not sure – am I too biased already? Have I seen too many really good shows (lucky me!) to have standards too high for Vienna? Or does Vienna have different standards than the West End or Broadway? Or any theatre in Canada and Australia? Fact is – I sat through three hours of Catch me – and it sure was dragging.
And yes: the lead Frank Abagnale jr (Rasmus Borkowski) certainly played his little heart out and was a charming charmer who charmed his way to more than 2 million dollars before he was 19. And FBI-sleuth Carl Hanratty (Martin Berger) was a great pedantic hunter (even resembling Tom Hanks at some point – everyone does know the story? Frank runs away at 16 to make a fortune by forging checks and impersonating a pilot, a doctor and finally a lawyer, sleeping his way through throngs of stewardesses, nurses and various other females till he finds Brenda Strong and falls for her. As he wants to marry her, he can’t shed his name again and therefore finally gets caught. But Hanratty, long since a grudging “fan”, offers him a job after he’s finished his sentence.)
But – the dancers were out of synch more often than not (which is probably because they don’t play this every day but only three times per month) and lacked the precision and professionalism I have seen in other productions (though not in Vienna). The songs try to establish a film-noir feeling and succeed at times – but carry on and on and on and it’s dragging. My biggest beef though is with the translation of the original English to German. German, and it’s a sad truth, is NOT made to properly fill songs that were written for English words. The translation was bumpy at best, unintentionally funny at times and the rhythm was off throughout the musical.
The rather small theatre (Kammerspiele is an intimate venue and very lovely) was sold out, but the audience was not greatly moved by the jokes and rarely laughed. They were probably anesthetized by both the bad air and the sheer length of the thing – the last hour of three really dragged on – maybe because then Frank was all of a sudden portrayed as a sad child who didn’t enjoy his impersonations any longer. As I said – cuts and a bit more rehearsal time would have done that play a world of good.