Monday, April 23, 2018

Weekly Margin, 2018 W16: Frozen, The Metromaniacs, Travesties, YOU / EMMA

4/17/18: Frozen
What: Live stage adaptation/expansion of the Disney hit film. Princesses Elsa and Anna are as close as sisters can be, until the manifestation of Elsa's winter powers injure her sister, and she withdraws until she can regain control. At her coronation as queen, she instead loses control and sends the kingdom into eternal winter. Only Anna can bring her sister back, and rescue the kingdom.
And? During the opening sequence, a twenty-minute montage of six songs which covers the younger days of the two princesses, leading up to Elsa's coronation, I was blown away. The storytelling and staging were great, the cast was stellar, and I trusted that this beloved film's adaptation was in good hands. However, as the show went on, it never quite lived up to its opening. I questioned a lot of the staging choices throughout (even some of the content choices), and the ending felt beyond rushed. "Let it Go," the film's breakout hit song, was an excellent closer to Act One, and some of the effects, particularly in that number, were very well rendered. But, to quote another song from the score, this show's "a bit of a fixer upper."

Caissie Levy, Patti Murin, and the ensemble as Queen Elsa, Princess Anna,
and the people of Arendelle. Photo by Deen van Meer.

4/20/18: The Metromaniacs
What: David Ives's updated translation of Alexis Piron's French farce (complete with rhyming couplets). Ives describes the play as "a comedy with five plots, none of them important." So we'll leave it at: changing partners, mistaken (and faken) identities, and some Rooney-Garland-style "let's put on a play."
And? Utterly delightful, start to finish. Marvelous and polished cast, nonsense plot, and hilarious rhyming couplets which continue to surprise. I loved it.

Adam Greene, Amelia Pedlow, and Noah Averbach-Katz
as Mondor, Lucille, and Dorante. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

4/21/18: Travesties
What: A revival of Tom Stoppard's play inspired by the fact that Vladimir Lenin, James Joyce, and Dadaist Tristan Tzara were all in Zurich at the same time, and that one inconsequential fellow named Henry Carr seems to connect them.
And? I remember being faintly bewildered when I first read this play ages ago. But watching this production was just wonderful. It's really a marriage of form and content, with a dadaist spin on Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest as a connective tissue for the discordant memories of an aging Henry Carr. The entire ensemble is terrific, the set design stunning, and the whole whirling mess more coherent than it has any right to be. I loved this one too.

Scarlett Strallen, Patrick Kerr, Dan Butler, Opal Alladin, Sara Topham, Tom
Hollander, Seth Numrich, and Peter McDonald as Gwendolen, Bennett, Lenin,
Nadya, Cecily, Henry Carr, Tristan Tzara, and Jame Joyce. Photo by Joan Marcus.

4/21/18: YOU / EMMA
What: Paz Pardo adapts Gustave Flaubert's Madame Bovary into a multimedia solo performance which places the audience as the protagonist who must contend with the tragic mundanity that ruins Emma Bovary.
And? Though I don't care for the story, this was a terrific adaptation and a wonderful solo performance by Valerie Redd. Full review here.

Valerie Redd as  You/Emma. Photo by Samantha Fairfield Walsh.

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