SHOWING : September 20, 2007 - October 06, 2007
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The Fantasticks, the longest running musical in the world, tells the story of a young boy and girl who fall in love with the help of their meddling, matchmaking fathers, but become restless and stray from each other. This is a celebration of love – first love, lost love, and ultimately, true love. Written by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, The Fantasticks has delighted audiences across the world. The score features such well-known musical theatre standards as Try to Remember, Much More, and I Can See It.
[REVIEW THIS PRODUCTION]
nothing really Fantastick here|
|by Okely Dokely
Tuesday, October 30, 2012 ||
Note: this review was originally posted on September 28, 2007. I have just made a few subtle edits. I am posting this disclaimer in case theaterreview still has the annoying glitch where edited reviews re-set the date and bring the review back to the top.|
This was my second time attending a Southside Theatre Guild production. I hadn't been back since I saw their Little Shop of Horrors in the late spring of 2004. I found LSOH to be barely recommendable, but I thought most people would probably have a good time.
The Fantasticks, I'm sad to report, is a step down from LSOH. (For the record, the 2 rating I'm giving this is one of those generous "benefit of the doubt" ratings.) I was never enchanted, barely moved, and what are normally my favorite songs in the show are ones that I couldn't wait to be over. Let me mention a couple of positives, though. There were two things I appreciated.
1. Not only was there no curtain speech (for which I wanted to jump up and cheer profusely), but the show started at 7:59.
2. This is one of the few times I've seen a Matt and Luisa who actually looked the ages they are supposed to be in the script. Not that it makes much of a difference - I have been endlessly captivated by Matts and Luisas going up to 35 - but still, it was nice to have a couple of YOUNG young lovers.
There was no harp in the orchestra, but Becky Clark's competent piano playing made me forget about that very quickly. As El Gallo, Tommy McDaniel had by far the best singing voice of the cast, and was probably my favorite performance. He looks the part, even if he's starting to get a bit long in the tooth for El Gallo and wasn't as mobile as I would have liked to have seen in some parts. I think this is his 2nd time doing El Gallo, and his 3rd time doing The Fantasticks. I wish I would have seen his Bellomy in Atlanta Lyric's production in 2006.
Katie Robertson as Luisa had endearing facial expressions and adequate acting chops, which made it hard for me to look away from her even when somebody else had the focus. I enjoyed her dancing during her first solo ("Much More"). Her high notes are a little weak, though. It sounds like she's had a little bit of vocal training, and I'd recommend she continue with that. I felt bad for her when she couldn't think of the second verse to "They Were You" and had to skip to the last verse, cutting out about half the song and making the accompanist vigorously turn pages.
I'm sorry to say that I found Caleb Barrett's performance as Matt to be the biggest disappointment of the evening. He had a weak voice all around (often very pitchy), and his acting was very robotic and systematic, particularly his hand gestures during "I Can See It." His performance was consistently too casual; when he slays the abductors and saves Luisa (the love of his life!), he is no more excited than if he had found out he saved $2 on his groceries. Plus, him having a mustache wasn't appropriate for the role he was playing. I wish somebody involved with the production had asked him to shave. Kudos go to Katie for sticking with him no matter how far he strayed from his harmony on "Soon It's Gonna Rain," and extra kudos to Tommy for singing the high note at the end of "I Can See It" that was supposed to be Matt's.
Mickey Tierney as Hucklebee was probably trying to come off as deadpan, but instead just came off as monotonous and bland. He looked like he was concentrating enormously hard to not forget a line, lyric, or movement - so much so that I saw very little characterization or eye contact with his fellow actors. I have to give him props, though, for keeping his complex harmonies down, 90% of the time. Murray Weed as Bellomy seemed like he could have been Hucklebee's son. The age difference was a little jarring. And this doesn't have anything to do with the production, but there was a strange mistake in his bio in the program that I can't believe nobody caught. He apparently appeared in a production of "Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum."
As Henry, Keith Williams was a physical type that reminded me more of Mortimer than Henry, but still, he did what he could. Also doing what he could, despite having never acted before, was Kent Richardson as Mortimer. Carey Barrett as the Mute was fine, though I didn't understand why he was passing out sharpies and "Hello My Name Is" stickers before the show. I declined to fill one out and put one on.
The director, David Califf, seemed to do what he could overall. I appreciate that he kept the blocking to "I Can See It" simple. The one and only thing I hated about the Shakespeare Tavern's Fantasticks was that ICSI was choreographed, rather than just blocked by the director. El Gallo and Matt were dancing their asses off in that number, and all I could think of was Roxie and Velma. But back to STG's production: El Gallo drumming on the keyboard during "This Plum is Too Ripe" looked weird. That's the kind of thing the Mute should have done instead. Also, though I liked that the keyboard was turned off by a cast member after the bows in a "enough already" moment, but that also should have been done by the Mute and not El Gallo.
I'm sorry, STG. You have a beautiful theater in a beautiful place, but I didn't feel like my favorite musical was done justice. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
| || a correction by Okely Dokely|
| The Mute is played by Carey Barrett, not Caleb Barrett as I said above.|
I am commenting rather than editing because of the glitch on this site that brings whatever you edit back to the top of the review list and re-sets the date.
| || FYI by otpeds|
| This was Caleb's first time acting and singing. He realizes very much that he lucked into this role...he was actually auditioning for a smaller role but no one else auditioned for "Matt".|
| || Will the real "theatre reviewer" please stand up.... by Lynn Tierney|
| It was interesting to read your review of the STG"s production of The Fantasticks. All of our names are listed in your article, but you have not listed your name....well...why do you hide behind Okely Dokely? My name is Lynn Tierney, and I am the stage manager for The Fantasticks.|
| || I don't hide by Okely Dokely|
| I have left my real name on here plenty of times. I just don't sign my name every time I post.|
I am Mark Schroeder. I'm an actor around town, and a big fan of theater, not to mention this site.
| || by karpanka|
| I wish you'd come back and see it again-- the night in question wasn't our best and we've also improved a lot! AND as a special treat, I promise to remember the words to all of my songs! :~)|
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