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Kudzu Playhouse3
Kudzu Children's Theater1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, by Sondheim
A pretty funny thing
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
4.0
I have seen this show on a few stages, most recently, at the Shakespeare Tavern. The main differences between the two productions is that the Shakespeare Tavern's "Forum" obviously had money on their side (set, costumes, etc.) and the Tavern's cast was more talented all around. Not to say that Kudzu did not assemble a cast of extremely talented individuals but it was just that, individuals. Not the whole cast. But I am not going to compare the two any more than that (well, I'll try not to).

The first thing that hits you is the orchestra. The overture was good, but a little weak at times. However, as the show continued, they improved tremendously. The next thing that comes is the introduction to Pseudolus (played by Jason Meinhardt). I have seen him in a few other shows and at first, I was not sure how he would pull off a role that has traditionally been cast as older. I was also not sure if his comic talents were strong enough to make Pseudolus believable and yet make me laugh as hard as I did. Jason quickly changed my mind and he had me red in the face with laughter. He has the strongest singing voice I have seen in a Pseudolus (even more than Nathan Lane, from what I can tell of the cast recording) and made Pseudolus his own. I didn't think about Zero Mostel (from the film), Nathan Lane, or the actor who did it at the Tavern. He was definitely the driving force of this show.

The rest of the principal cast was fairly strong. Tyler Shaker as Hysterium, although not quite the strength of Jeff McKerley (one of my favorite Atlanta clowns), still made me laugh and the chemistry between him and Pseudolus was priceless in their hilarious number towards the end of the show. Brink Miller (my favorite Scrooge in Atlanta), was very funny and well cast as the dirty old man, Senex. The others (Hero, Philia, Domina, Lycus) were well cast and equally as talented. I have not seen any of these actors before, but would definitely welcome them back in future productions. The dancing courtesans were good, but the dances could use some work. They all seemed to be done on the fly and even though they all seemed to be experienced dancers, they had no direction. But they were all beautiful and their introduction scene with Pseudolus was hysterical and sexy at the same time. The Proteans, for the most part, were good. However, the opening number was uneventful and would have loved to have seen more acrobatics/flair as I have seen in other Forums. Miles (played by Len Hedges-Goettl, who I have seen before at another theater), was not exactly what I always have in mind when I think of the brute Captain. But admittedly, he had me laughing and did his job pretty well.

I would say, the biggest problem I had was with the direction. The staging was average, at best. I suppose when you have seen the show before, you tend to pay attention to minor details that your average audience member would not. Plus, being an actor and a director myself, I usually watch things like that with a critical eye. A personal flaw, but I do, nonetheless. I think the chorus as a whole, when singing together, needed some work and maybe it was just an "off day". The costumes were good and the set, when revealed, is done well with the space they have to work with. I know, I am giving it a 4 and really it should be a 3.5. The reason I am generous with my rating is that the performances of the actors I mentioned were above and beyond the past productions I saw and the fact that they take up most of the stage time, it made it a very enjoyable experience. Its early in the run and I think a lot of the little flaws will work out and if I could see it again towards the end, I will. Maybe then it will be a full "4". I highly recommend this show, especially if you want to see some of Atlanta's top talent. You might just have to ignore some of the flaws, but its not hard when you are laughing as hard as I was.

The Invisible Man, by adapted by Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee
Invisible Man
Monday, November 8, 2004
2.0
I have been to Kudzu twice now for an adult show and I had high expectations based on my previous experiences. "Nunsense", although not a favorite, was well directed and well acted. "Forever Plaid" has to be one of my favorites and therefore, I came to The Invisible Man with hopes that it would be another success. I was very disappointed. The script didn't work for me, the staging was off, and the acting was definitely sub par compared to the past productions I saw. There were some supporting roles that shined bright but I have to say, without being harsh, that the Invisible Man (played by Brian Godlesky) needs a little work. You could say that "it can all be worked out as the run progresses", but its already almost the last weekend and I do not see him easing into his role anytime soon. The special effects were nothing compared to what they could have been with a little preparation. In Kudzu's defense, I think this was a bold leap to try to do something different, but I think they should stick to what they do very well and that is shows that don't require David Copperfield-like effects and shows that are appropriate for that space. I will continue to go to Kudzu because I feel every theater has a bad show every once in a while. I just hope that they learn from this mistake and move on to the better shows like the ones I saw before.

Forever Plaid, by Stuart Ross
Go see this show!!!!!
Monday, September 13, 2004
5.0
I took my daughter to see this production at Kudzu and even though I have heard of this show, I have never seen it and did not really know what was in store for me. I specifically did not know that there were only four actors in this show and was surprised, immediately, of the vocal power of such a small cast. The first main stage show I saw here at Kudzu was Nunsense and was blown away at the talent of this small community theater. My daughter, who is in those years where seeing a play may not necessarily be considered “cool”, but I was able to talk her into it and I am not trying to put words into her mouth, but from her reactions, it seemed as though she had a lot of fun, as did I.

I, unlike my daughter, grew up with this music and it was definitely a trip down memory lane when the guys broke out in their hilarious and seemingly exhausting tribute to the “Ed Sullivan Show” and judging from the reaction from the audience, it was definitely the show stopper and the staging for that should be applauded. The whole show, from beginning to end, was funny, touching, and overall was an thoroughly enjoyable evening. I am certainly not going to claim to know anything about music and I was even shushed many times throughout the night by my embarrassed daughter when I would start mumbling the words to a few of the songs. To my untrained ear, the guys sounded amazing. Some songs were better than others, but I will say that all the solos were incredible and the unique characteristics of all four guys came out in each song.

I read the earlier reviews and can only assume that it took a couple weeks to get it to where it was this past Saturday. I had a great time again at Kudzu and could not recommend this show more.

Alice in Wonderland, by
Enjoyable.
Monday, July 12, 2004
5.0
I have to agree with a previous review that this show is not necessarily for younger children. But I am familiar with the original Carroll book(s) and I don't think that younger children would fully understand it either. I enjoyed the version at Kudzu playhouse for a couple of reasons. It didn't sugar coat the underlying theme of the story. Let's all remember what Mr. Carroll was on when he wrote the book. With that said, I loved the choice of music for this production.

My only problem was it was a little disjointed. But I do not believe this is the director's fault. I could be wrong, but I believe that would be with the script. I agree with the other review when it was said the production just stopped abruptly. But I cannot fault anyone but the script's adaptation.

The bottom line is, I had fun, my kids had fun, and it seemed that everyone around me was having fun; especially the kids performing the show. Isn't that what children's theatre is about? I do not agree with commenting on the talent of young actors in this type of open forum. The only two negative reviews rudely, I think, are commenting on the talent of children under the age of 10 (there are a few in this show over the age of 18, I believe, but I am concerned for those younger. The older actors, I am sure, have thicker skin). I am certainly not trying to start more of a fight here, but I think children of this age should be encouraged to keep doing this, to have fun, and to improve. Telling them that they don't belong in a show and that there are more talented kids in Atlanta does nothing but undermine the reason Kudzu puts children into their children's shows. I think the entire cast should be applauded for doing what they do, as should any cast of children performing full length shows for other children.

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