Thursday, June 6, 2013

Great Show at the Palace!

Fiorella gives the Georgetown palace Theater's production of Thoroughly Modern Millie a rave review.  It was quick, smart, and disciplined, just like a good farce should be.

The settings were great, the lighting was great, the costumes were fantastic, the band was great (although often overloud), the pacing was great, the singers were great, and the acting, for the most part, was great.  And Fiorella is happy to tell you that  Jesee Smart, nee Jessica Klepsch, is doing the choreography again.  No more arms waving aimlessly in the air, no more repetitive circle dances, but neat, fast, inventive, energetic routines, with every dancer grinning and not a tap out of step.

Rumbles of laughter ran through the audience at the audacious, unexpected sequences.  The show is based on the 1967 movie starring Carol Burnett, but clever updates make it new and shiny, unlike  the Palace's Singing in the Rain and South Pacific.  As a romance writer, Fiorella got a kick out of the teasers at the ends of scenes.  She also liked the way there were usually two or three things happening at once, but that the play was directed so well that Fio knew exactly where her focus should be.

The girls carry the show so shout-outs to  Sara Burke as Millie, Tiffany Blackmon as Miss Dorothy,   Lariena Brown  as Mama Muzzy (the Carol Channing part), and  Melita McAttee in the Bea Lilly role--a far cry from the Mother Superior she played in the Palace's Nunsense series.  Male stand-outs were  Scott Shipman as Trevor Graydon and Stephen Jack as Jimmy Smith.  Shipman's operatic voice stole the show.  Jack's upper register has an especially sweet sound, but his characterization was just a bit wimpy, although perhaps more due to the script that the actor.   Fio was glad to see golden-toned tenor Ismael Soto in the cast again, although his role didn't call for much singing.  Husband's favorite character was Samantha Watson as Miss Flannery.

Spoiler alert: bowing to modern sensibilities, the villainess is just pretending to be Chinese, which, surprisingly, makes the story even funnier.

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