Friday, November 21, 2008

Opening and Closing

So “Sanders Family Christmas” is opening tonight and I guess “A Tuna Christmas” is officially opening, not to mention “Bite Me!” continuing, which makes for a busy weekend on the local boards.

But just so people don’t forget other things they might have missed, the T-D has a piece on “Shadow Play” which wraps up at Theatre VCU and the final shows of “tick, tick…Boom!” are also this weekend.

I didn’t really get a chance to ramble about “Boom!” in part because there was little I could say beyond continuing to heap praise upon the production. Particularly with the perspective that this is the first fully produced show Stage 1 has put on, it’s quite an achievement. The technical reality of the theater space is a little breathtaking – the tiered seating, the rotating lighting instruments, the high-quality sound production. How many years was it before most local start-up companies get these kinds of things? Well, some still aren’t there.

But then there are the performances, which are exceptional. Durron did not get enough praise in the reviews because of the supporting nature of his character but his voice, his energy, and his organic portrayal of a marketing guy who has compromised but still has a soul is key to the show’s success. Audra – well, what more can I say? She is striking as a blonde – the shininess of the wig notwithstanding – and the speed with which she moves into her marketing maven and New Yawk agent personas remarkable, beyond the fact that she nails each of her characters. And I’ve had two women talk to me about how she looks in her black dress so I feel fairly secure in knowing that my reaction wasn’t simply a sexist one (BTW: looking for some male eye-candy – go see Elliot Lau in “Bite Me!”)

I’d say Brett continues to mature with his role as Jon but I frankly think one of his most mature performances was in “The Drawer Boy” three years ago. So I wasn’t at all surprised to see him manage the awkward narrate-as-you-act structure of the show with aplomb. As I think I’ve said before about him, he projects a very winning personality without seeming to try. I start to wonder whether he’d be awesome playing against type as a cold-hearted villain sometime.

As great as the production was, I didn’t gain any great love for the show itself. It’s a little “navel-gazey” with the subsidiary characters (both which are pretty intriguing in their own right) getting a bit of a short shrift in favor of the young man struggling to follow his dream. I didn’t understand the essential idea of “30/90” at first (he’s 30, it’s 1990, duh), “Green Green Dress” is clearly filler and I think “Come to Your Senses” is a bit of an awkward song that doesn’t pay off in the way that it’s supposed to (IMHO). I ended up feeling that if only you could plug “Seasons of Love” in at that point, just how powerful the show would be.

Still, it’s an impressive production and if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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