Thursday, March 21, 2013

No Waves, Only Ripples

Fiorella was disappointed in the Georgetown Palace's production of South Pacific, and she thinks the rest of the SRO audience was too.  There was no show-stopping applause, no spontaneous guffaws of laughter, just perfunctory clapping after each number and polite chuckles for the jokes.

First of all, the children were darling, the French was interesting, the singing was great and Fiorella fell in love with the bell-like tones of Ismael Soto, who played Lt. Cable.  A tenor, and tall to boot, he's got it made.  However, the production as a whole was too loud.  Several cast members seemed to be unaware that they were wearing mikes and could be heard all the way to New Braunfels.  Second, there was no chemistry whatsoever between Emile de Becque and Nellie Forbush.  Their first scene should have been sizzling with simmer, but all Christine Jean-Jacque and Bob Beare did was recite lines, sing, and move around a lot, leaving Fio confused as to why Nellie suddenly announced her love for the Frenchman one scene later. Third, the characters crossed the fourth wall too often, singing not to each other or to themselves, but to the audience.  Fourth, there was too much untrammeled energy.  With every character bouncing with life like a star vying for attention, Fio couldn't focus on the leads.  Fifth, Fio entreats the Palace to bring back the the creative, disciplined dances of Jessica Kelpsch.  Having everyone do something different and flail their arms around a lot looks more like a free-for-all.  Sixth, why did the "male" cast include those two girls in boy wigs?  Fio spotted them in the first guy scene and, because their hair was identical, thought they were twelve-year-old twin boys.  Wondering about how underage boys got drafted distracted her for the rest of the production.  Seventh, some advice to the theater: just because your leading lady can turn a mean cartwheel doesn't mean she should do it in three different scenes, one-handed or not.

Fiorella and Husband invited Brother and his wife along for the show and Fio reserved her four season ticket seats with high hopes--perhaps too high, but the Palace has turned out stellar performances before--Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Technicolor DreamCoat, and The Producers come to mind.  What happened?  Was South Pacific too ambitious a project?  Is the play itself too old or too familiar?

Oh well, there's still Thoroughly Modern Millie to go.

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