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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Way Off Broadway [ALL REVIEWERS]
Companies Reviewed#
Arcado Community Theatre1
Onstage Atlanta, Inc.1
Average Rating Given : 2.50000
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

Sleeping Beauty, by T.E Fuller
This Sleeping Beauty should never have been awakened!
Friday, March 12, 2004
1.0
This was a rather lame retelling of the Sleeping Beauty tale, depicting the delicate princess as a feminist seeking to decry and deny her beauty and her regal lot in life. Some classics are better left as they were originally written - and in this instance, both the Brothers Grimm are undoubtedly rollin' in their graves!

The production was fraught with both bad acting and overacting; a cheesy set; and gaudy, "got 'em in a thrift store" costumes.

Overall, quite embarrassing! Beth Chessler is capable of much better work as a director.

Abracadabra Children's Theatre at Onstage Atlanta was FAR BETTER when Chip Coffey was writing, producing and directing the shows!

My Fair Lady, by Lerner and Loewe
Much Better than "Fair" for "My Fair Lady"
Friday, March 12, 2004
4.0
I attended the opening night performance of Arcado Community Theatre's "My Fair Lady" with rather limited expectations of just how well a small community theatre could produce the play. (After all, it's a theatre classic, a Tony Award winner for Best Musical on Broadway and despite the "why Audrey Hepburn, not Julie Andrews?" debate, a beloved movie.) By the time the show had ended, I was pleasantly surprised quite a few times.

Elizabeth Schenck was a smart choice to play the role of Eliza Dolittle, the downtrodden flower girl who is transformed into a lady. Ms. Schenck is petite and pretty and has a powerful singing voice. She handles Eliza's transition well, although at times she must take care to enunciate better when burdened by Eliza's Cockney accent. She appears to be very comfortable on stage and literally shines during all her vocal numbers.

As Henry Higgins, Steven Giles is most properly British - the program says he "originally hails from England." Giles imbues his Higgins with the appropriate amount of pomposity and arrogance. His singing voice is pleasant and, thankfully, he does not try to emulate Rex Harrison, the quintessential Higgins. At first glance, he appears a bit young to play the role of Higgins, but the handsome Giles uses this to his advantage; it's easy to imagine him as an overly indulged, spoiled momma's boy who likes to tinker with the lives of others.

Chip Coffey, as Colonel Pickering, Higgins' sidekick, spends a lot of time seemingly buried behind his newspaper, yet watches closely as the action takes place around him. When he gets the chance to speak, Coffey shines in what could easily be a throwaway role. He's staid and military-like when necessary, then flustered and addled when needed. Coffey is a very good character actor.

Alfred Dolittle, Eliza's low-life, hard-drinking father, is a middle-aged, song-and-dance actor’s dream role. Paul Durden gives it his best shot, but something is missing. Perhaps it's the fact that his Cockney accent isn't very good. Or it could be that he doesn't "chew the scenery" quite as much as he could or should. Durden's vocal numbers ("With a Little Bit of Luck" and "Get me to the Church on Time") are fine, although at times he is almost upstaged and overshadowed by his two ham-it-up cronies, Scott Allen as Harry and Cefus McRae as Jamie.

Fredolyn Stitt makes very good use of her limited time on stage as Mrs. Higgins, Henry's aristocratic mother. Brent Csehy, as the lovestruck Freddy Eynsford-Hill, has a decent singing voice, but somehow misses out on making his small role very memorable. (Perhaps he should get some pointers from Ms. Stitt!) Nancy Durden was properly stuffy as Mrs. Pearce, Higgins’ dutiful housekepper.

The show's ensemble of Cockneys and Aristocrats does a fine job with the song-and-dance numbers. Christina Barrett's choreography is basic, but then again, one doesn't expect lavish dancing when attending community theatre. The chorus members got some great laughs on opening night during the "Ascot Gavotte" number. Director Myrna Feldman and Musical Director Amy Thropp have, overall, done a good job with the large ensemble.

The small orchestra - keyboards, flute, cello, bass and percussion - sounds quite impressive. The sets, although somewhat sparse, work well for this production.

For the most part, the show has been costumed very nicely. The Ascot attire is “loverly.” The tuxedoes and gowns at the Embassy Ball look terrific, except for Eliza's cape, which looked a bit like the curtains in my living room. The Cockney outfits are a hodgepodge of different time periods - I noticed metal snaps on one actresses' shirt and athletic style shoes on at least two of the men!

Given the fact that the show was undoubtedly produced on a tight budget by a small theatre group consisting of mostly amateur actors and crew members, ACT's "My Fair Lady" was most enjoyable and well worth the $8.00 price of admission.

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