Thursday, September 17, 2009

Getting Hep to "Vep"

Tonight is the first preview for “The Mystery of Irma Vep” down at Swift Creek Mill. In contrast to their season opener last year – the substantially casted “Sideshow” – “Vep” is a two-hander that will star a couple Mill faves, David Janeski and John Hagadorn. I’m a little nervous about the possible “Big Tuna”-esque nature of the show – a genre many people love but that I’m not an unconditional fan of – but I think Mssrs. Janeski and Hagadorn are both accomplished enough to make it interesting at least, and quite possibly delightful at most.

In looking over the rest of the Mill’s season, I’m a little surprised not to see any big cast musical of the “Sideshow” or even the “Altar Boyz” variety. As you can tell from the numerous RTCC award nominations, “Altar Boyz” was a definite fave among us critics last season. Personally, I brought nearly my entire clan to the show and they all had a fabulous time.

Musicals have a long and storied history at the Mill and some of my favorite locally-produced musicals of all time have been bigger Mill shows (both of the “Joseph / Dreamcoat” productions they’ve done in relatively recent history, the original “Smoke on the Mountain” of course…) So I have to admit a sense of disappointment that the musicals on their slate this season are a variety show and a two-hander (“Pete ‘n Keely”).

Still, with Stage 1’s demise, the number of musicals in general is going to be reduced this season, so beggars can’t really be choosers. And a dearth of the big cast variety will just heighten my anticipation for “Sound of Music” in the Spring.


Anonymous said...

What is it that I'm missing about Avenue Q? I saw (half of) it on Broadway and found it to be tasteless. Out of the 20 plus shows I've seen in NY, it is the only one that I couldn't stomach. If you find puppets having oral sex interesting, then you'll like this show. Before purchasing the tickets, I asked the rep at the ticket office if it was something they would take a young child to see and they said, "Absolutely!". Who knew puppets could be so vile. Hopefully this version is toned down.

Dave T said...

I guess it's a testament to different strokes for different folks, Anon. I've seen "Q" twice on Broadway and will gladly go see it again at CenterStage. I thought it was twisted but also wonderfully insightful ("Everyone's a Little Bit Racist") and subversive and grown up. I would absolutely NOT take a young child to it, however, and whoever told you that was ill informed or ignorant. I hope with all my heart this version is NOT toned down. I'll probably be taking my godson to this one and I want him to see it in all of its unadulterated glory.

Anonymous said...

How fortunate for the Mill that you are going with such positive expectations.

Anonymous said...

"As you can tell from the numerous RTCC award nominations, “Altar Boyz” was a definite fave among us critics last season."

This sentence (within full context) makes it sound like you'd prefer that Richmond theaters choose their shows based on what will appeal to the RTCC committee. Is that what you mean to say?

Dave T said...

I cannot speak for the rest of the "Committee," Anon, but I loved "Altar Boyz" because it was a fun and slightly off-kilter show performed by an extremely talented cast supported by downright spectacular technical elements. Is it somehow surprising that it appealed to critics as well as to audiences?

My preference is that Richmond theaters choose good scripts and produce them as well as they can. Personally, I'd be surprised if the opinions of the RTCC add up to a hill of beans in the context of companies choosing shows.

However, I will say that the RTCC is a diverse group of folks, each of whom is a theater lover. So choosing shows that appeal to a diverse audience of theater lovers sounds like a pretty good strategy in my book.

Dave T said...

Oh, and Anon #2, tone is always hard to parse in print particularly based on a single line, but I read your comment as dripping with sarcasm. I'm tempted to offer an equally sarcastic response but, given that I ended up not being able to see the show, perhaps it would be best to assert with as much sincerity as I can muster that I approach each show with as many positive expectations as I can. Whether the Mill was fortunate or not that I did not end up going at all is up for debate, I guess.