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Companies Reviewed#
Georgia Ensemble Theatre1
Average Rating Given : 4.25000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Fiddler on the Roof, by Joseph Stein
Sunday, July 31, 2005
I've seen 4 or 5 shows at ACT1 and they're always able to amaze me with the use of a small space. Fiddler on the Roof is one show I would have never imagined would work on a small stage. But work it does - and wonderfully! In this show, they've compensated for lack of stage space by bringing the set out into the house, as a barn extension, and putting the musicians in it. How much more involving for the audience to be in the midst of all the action!
The sets were wonderfully designed. Tevye's house rotated to see the inside, or to become part of the village street. Costumes were excellent and seemed to be consistent with the period and setting. They were somewhat more colorful than they really would have been in a poor village, but certainly much better than the drab ones I've seen elsewhere.
Director Moira Thornette has put together an ideal cast. Marshall Hitch as Tevye was outstanding! His warmth and humor came across very clearly. According to the program, he has played the role of Tevye several times, and he obviously knows his character. There are too many wonderful actors to name, but several stand-outs deserve mention. Sawyer Armstrong portrayed Hodel with depth and realism. Beautiful voice! When Emily Voller, as Chava, begged for her father's acceptance, her tears caused the audience to cry with her. Steven Sheerer plays Lazar Wolf admirably and is very convincing as the rejected groom.
I've seen "Fiddler" several times, including the recent one at Jewish Theater of the South. ACT1's production is the best I've seen!

Dearly Departed, by David Botrell & Jessie Jones
Thursday, March 24, 2005
I laughed so hard at this production that I would have been embarassed - but everybody else was laughing just as hard. What a great show! The funniest person in the cast (Brian Thornett as Norval) had no lines - but he sure didn't need them! There were just enough serious moments to allow the audience to collect themselves and try to focus on the deeper meaning.
The cast was wonderful! The principal characters (or at least the sane ones in the family), Raynelle (Moria Thornett) and Ray-bud (John Donnelly) were portrayed expertly. They both were able to transition easily from the very funny to the more dramatic parts, without losing their credibility. Kasey Skeen as Suzanne played the shrew marvelously. Samantha Watson as the belligerent teen was very believable. Ginger McMichael played the bible-thumping Marguerite to perfection.
Sets were minimal, and used some area lighting and a table, etc. that was used in various locales. The script is written is many short vignettes - I lost count, but it seemed to be about 14 or so scenes - so there isn't much time to change sets. One set change was kinda noisy - moving a car on and off.
The theater is nicely set up. Looks like it seats about 80 or so. Sight lines are good. I was about 2/3 of the way back and could see fine, although that might have been a problem for someone short. Sound and lighting were great.

Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, by Tom Mula
Definitely different.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
Hmm ... maybe just not my "style". The script went from talking directly to the audience to acting to narrating. The lines were a mixture of the original Charles Dickens' words and those of Tom Mula. No props were used - all were mimed.
The set was multi-level platforms, steps and ramps - presumably to represent the levels of hell that Jacob Marley had to escape. In the background were two tall squarish scaffold type structures, which were moved from time to time. They were moved together, rotated, moved apart. I'm not sure why. If it was intended to indicate different areas, that wasn't clear. Several mannequins were scattered about. Everything was painted black - platforms, mannequins, etc.

In the main, the acting was excellent. Each actor played multiple roles. Hugh Adams was excellent, as was Cynthia Collins. Larry Larson played several parts with ease. Dikran Tulaine, however, was puzzling. His portrayal seemed rather like an inebriated Marlon Brando. Since one of his characters was Scrooge, I thought perhaps that was part of his interpretation. But, as he played other roles with the same personna, it began to look like he had a drink or three before the performance.
Not one of my favorites for GET.

Annie Get Your Gun, by Music by Irving Berlin
Great Show!
Thursday, December 16, 2004
I thoroughly enjoyed this show! Certainly an ambitious undertaking for a small theater, but pulled off very well. The lead roles were well played by Anna Lichtenwalner and William Mahlandt - very believeable and enjoyable. They were supported by a great cast including Kimberly Graeff as Dolly, Derrel Emerson as Buffalo Bill and Jim Dailey as Charlie Davenport. Many others rounded out this great cast. The dancing was ambitious and perhaps beyond the ability of some of the cast.
A previous review mentioned the musicians dancing at the end - didn't happen in the production I saw. The musicians were wonderful. I believe Kelly Marino did almost all of the keyboard work, and did it brilliantly.
Ticket price is $18 (I think) - good value for this wonderful show!

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