Monday, May 20, 2019

Weekly Margin 2019, W20: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, Little Women

5/17/19: Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations
What: The title basically covers it.
And? Watching this show was a very similar experience to watching Jersey Boys for me, for the following reasons (besides the obvious, that it's a bio/jukebox musical about a legendary music group):

  • it definitely got a bit overhyped
  • people in the audience were singing along
  • the audience-facing narration was exactly the kind of clunk that makes me tired as a writer
  • a part of me is distrusting what I'm hearing, or rather, the horse's mouth of it all, simply because the narrator comes off the cleanest (same issue came up for me with Motown, which didn't have a narrator, but goodness did Mr. Berry Gordy come off looking like he wasn't the control freak that he is)
  • HO-LY SHIT WHEN THEY SING THOUGH. What an absolute thrill to hear those songs live, to watch them move the way they do (Ephraim Sykes, you guys. YOU GUYS)
Ephraim Sykes, Jeremy Pope, Jawan M. Jackson, James Harkness, and
Derrick Baskin as David Ruffin, Eddie Kendricks, Melvin Franklin,
Paul Williams, and Otis Williams. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

5/18/19: Little Women
What: Kate Hamill's latest adaptation presented by Primary Stages, of the classic Louisa May Alcott novel about the March sisters.
And? It was fine, if a bit inert, with a weird dichotomy of seeming to rush through story beats while also going slowly. I think part of this was caused by the scene changes, which would have benefited from the guidance of a choreographer, to activate the redressing of the space, and pair it more specifically with the music. Strong performances from Kristolyn Lloyd (Jo) and Paola Sanchez Abreu (Beth), and a beautiful use of the recurring motif of Beth demanding a real story from Jo.

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