Chorus Line Sept.17th, ’16

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The precision of the actors/ dancers just blew me away. We all know that the musical is one long audition where the candidates have to open up about their innermost – often childhood – dreams. We get to like them… and it breaks our hearts when they get injured or fail. Which is of course what the play wants: to make you feel for each person on stage in two short hours. And Donna Feore’s direction does exactly that. Also she has a great and accomplished cast that lives up to what is expected of them.

But what really got to me: Juan Chioran – the night before I’d seen him in little night music, as furiously jealous Count, in one scene hobbling around with his pants down to catch Fredrik to press him into a duel, and there he was Zach, the man who is hiring, dancing and kicking in perfect unison with the other dancers. It freaked me out how talented these people on stage actually are. May I never forget that again.

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A Little Night Music Sept. 16th, ’16

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It’s great to see Ben Carlson on stage in a comedy. His timing as the clueless husband of the too young trophy wife was just irresistibly funny. The story is I think well known (also I saw it before on Broadway so you can find it in my own blog. It’s about a husband finding out he married the wrong woman (girl, in this case), about a successful actress realising she needs more than another fling outside her profession and a child watching the night smile three times – once for the young, (as the young wife finds love with her husband’s son and two servants indulge in a fling) once for the adults, (the actress (Yanna McIntosh) and the married man(Carlson as Fredrik)  coming together for good this time, the married lover (Juan Chioran) getting back to his understanding wife(Cynthia Dale)) and once for the old(Rosemary Dunsmore), who smile over long gone stories while they slip into the last sleep.

With a great cast and an incredibly elegant choir the Avon also outdid itself with a lavish stage design. Sondheim’s songs never sounded better (I’m absolutely certain that this is not a musical but something so much greater) and “Send in the clowns” brought me to tears. It’s a wonderful production with lavish costumes.

An absolute winner, unless you sit next to a continuously farting man who stank to high heaven. Sigh. Oh well.

Kiss me, Kate Aug. 2010

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My one regret: I absolutely ADORE the movie with screen icon Liz Taylor and welsh great Richard Burton and it took me a while to get their images out of my head when watching this performance of Kiss me, Kate. Which is regretful, because the show is amazing!

Costumes and set props are brilliant, the colors dazzling, flashy to the point of being garish – which is a good thing, believe me! – and the actors seem to have a blast while on stage which immediately transfers to the audience. An audience which is actually sometimes involved in the show – for instance when Kate picks a man in the first couple of rows to sing all his weaknesses to him (I hate men). Absolutely hilarious, maybe a little less for the poor chap who’s being berated by her, but still all in good fun.

Lilli Vanessi (Monique Lund) and Fred Graham (Juan Chioran) share enough sparks to make their constant battles and their deep love for each other believable and the General represents enough of a military man to not fall just into the category of stereotypical dumb soldiery.

There are also the two Muscles who are hired to collect the “little debt” from Bill Calhoun – their parts were initially thought as small one offs, but evolved while Sam and Bella Spewack wrote the play until they now have the brilliant Brush up your Shakespeare as a signature number that they milk for all it’s worth.

But the true scene stealers are without a doubt Bill Calhoun (the incredibly good looking and talented Mike Jackson – hey, I’ve always been a sucker for good looking men with talent) and his mistress Lois Lane (Chilina Kennedy, who obviously enjoys the part of the very blonde tart she is supposed to be). Whenever those two are on stage, there’s sparks everywhere, and the scenes seem to work with a weightless precision that is admirable. I truly adore their interaction with each other and the rest of the cast – the flirt scene Lois has with the General is absolutely brilliant.

I was not that enchanted with Monique Lund, I’m afraid – she has a great voice with a full range but I didn’t like the rather soft Wunderbar. It was not until she delved into her comic side more (with I hate men) that I really started enjoying her singing.

All in all I really had a great afternoon at the theatre  with a fun show and actors who seemed to enjoy themselves too (something that was sadly missing from King of Thieves, by the way) that brought the audience to their feet in a standing ovation at the end.