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cdills87 [ALL REVIEWERS]
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Kudzu Playhouse1
Onstage Atlanta, Inc.1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
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REVIEWS

Barefoot In The Park, by Neil Simon
Alright.... But worth the money? Hmmm......
Monday, January 30, 2006
3.0
After reading some of the comments posted on here about the previous review I am appauled at the turmoil over this production and the playhouse. I am almost afraid to post my review on here. I do not want to be attacked. That is not waht this site is about. It is not to attack someone in a review or in comments. Granted a review might single someone out but it is factually, or should be. I wrote this for a class, and I feel myself as an unbiased thatre patron majoring in design and management. I still cannot believe, the DIRECTOR acting like that. How very unprofessional and this coming from a college freshman, really? Come on. This attitude makes me not want to come back to Kudzu, although I know I will, but it will have to be a show that I really want to see before I do. After all it seems like the smae people reapper theur time and time again.
This is my second play that I have seen at Kudzu Playhouse, my first of their main season. My first being The Magician’s Nephew an excellent children’s production that they put on last year. Kudzu Playhouse is conveniently located at Holcombridge Road and Roswell Road, very easy to find, if you sort of know where it is, if you don’t, good luck seeing their road sign, and then once in the shopping center seeing their little sign over the stairs leading down to the subway like shopping center located in the basement of the stores at street level.
The evening started with getting their a little early, around 7pm to get our tickets. We did not want to miss out. We were told that the box office was not quite ready to open if we could come back a little later that their would be no trouble getting tickets. Which is unfortunately par for the course in most Atlanta Community Theatres. So I went to eat at Chick-Fil-A located in the shopping center’s parking lot.
When we got our tickets, they were very helpful and friendly. The lady at the box office took the time to find a ticket voucher for me so that I could take it to get credit for my college class that I was seeing the show for. The normal tickets that patrons are issued are laminated tickets that are recycled. A very good idea in my opinion, saves the theatre a lot of money.
The theatre itself is rather small, again par for the course in Atlanta Theatre. There are only five rows so there are no bad seats. Unfortunately some of the seats, mine included were missing arm rests so I had rather rough metal digging into me. Thankfully I had a jacket to cushion it a little. The lights could use a dusting too. That much sust has to be a fire hazard. are they left up their all the time?
I was a little unimpressed with the set. It seemed to be poorly put together, the flats consistently bowed and shook when leaned against or doors were slammed. I thought at several points that they set was going to come down. It did however make a nice use of levels leading down from the front door and back up to the bedroom and bathroom. It reminded the audience of the 5-6 flights of stairs that are a source of much laughter throughout the show.
Speaking of the bathroom and bedrooms, they are described as being very small. The bedroom being one that only a oversized single could fit into and the bathroom not having a bathtub. The bedroom’s door cannot even open all the way because of the bed, a nice touch, and another source of laughter that was well done. However the bathroom needed something. The door repeatedly was let to open all the way, and it revealed a blank wallpapered wall. Nothing to signify a bathroom. The door appears to open all the way to the wall, but yet a sink is supposed to be there somewhere because Corrie gets he toothbrush from behind the door. Wouldn’t the door hit the sink? One might say no, but the skylight further implies that the wall is immediately behind the door. It would be nice for there be something added there to signify this, and a towel bar/ring with a towel, and a shower curtain or something to show the accursed shower that Paul hates so much. When Corrie’s mother looks into the two rooms, she looks at the wall, or as if the door to the bedroom looked into the bathroom and the bathroom into the bed room. She need to look around the doorway and into the way the rooms are implied to go.
The skylight was well done. I like how is was at an angle, that hinted at it actually being on the ceiling like an actual skylight. It was a nice use of the limited space. I wished some snow would have appeared as the show progressed to show how the dripping is what gave Paul his cold at the end. I would have like for that to have been more clear. The dripping of the melting snow on him as he was forced to sleep on the couch.
I wished there had been more of a set up of the time period in the pre show music, a nice blip of “Going to the Chapel...” right as the lights were going down was nice, but more was needed. I notice some during the scene changes but that was it. The furniture when it arrived was nice, and was a good pick of the time period but the couch was slip covered, something that I don’t think was very popular during the time period. Especially with it being brand new and ordered form someplace like Bloomingdales or another upscale store.
Speaking of the scene changes, they were a little unorganized. This could be because no stage manager was listed in the program. People would carry out furniture, place it, and then someone else would move it. Jobs need to be assigned and those people need to take care of them. Scene changes are just as important as the performance. The audience does see them.
The acting was good. There were moments when the actors lost motivation, were moving to where the director told them to without realizing why they were going there. By far Linda Niles who played Corie’s Mother and Rial Ellsworth who played Victor Velasco were the most consistent and most enjoyable to watch. They were on top of things and their timing was perfect, something key to Neil Simon’s comedy. Greg Fitzgerald deserves an honorable mention because, as the telephone repairman, he gave his small role a full story. While I thought he played his exhaustion over the stairs a little to over the top, it was quite funny. His delivery of the repeated “oh boy...” was hilarious. Corie’s mother equalled this, I would have like to have seen Paul more exhausted. He tried at first but then stopped. It began to seem like it was easy for him. Paul Bratter, played by Jason Meinhardt kept a fine medium between the fine acting of the previously mentioned people and his wife Brandy Meinhardt who played Corrie Bratter. He seemed to portraying a normal person, which would work if he was not supposed to be so uptight. He needs to be up tight so that when he goes walking barefoot in the park it is a huge change from his old self. Brandy played Corrie like a goody-goody, newlywed wife madly in love with Paul. This works, but she was always like that. So melodramatic, there was little to no dynamics to her character. She was the worst a playing a robot and going to where the director, Snapper Morgan, had told her to go. Regurgitation of lines and blocking is easy, character development is not.
I noticed while I was there, flipping though the program and looking at the numerous show pictures and information located in their lobby that the same actors appear again and again. Why is that I wonder. I think that diversity in working environments is the best thing that can happen to anyone. These actors, Brandy and Jason Meinhardt much more that the others, seem to have become accustomed to getting parts, they don’t seem to have a zeal for their art anymore. I ask myself why are they doing it. The two of them did not even smile at the curtain call. I paid $16 and the person I was with paid $18, at least smile and acting like you were glad to perform for us. We did just sit there for two hours and watch you go in and out of acting.
I was interested to see that the character’s playing Paul and Corrie are actually married, interesting, but I don’t think it worked out well. They seemed to be resorting to too much of their natural selves. There was to much thinking in this show. All in all the actors were to much in their heads. They were to worried on what they were doing, and not doing who they were. That is being their characters. I do applaud Greg Fitzgerald, Linda Niles, and Rial Ellsworth for the work they did do, you all carried this show and made the leads look as good as they did.
All in all I give the show a 6 out of 10. If was a good show but I would not recommend someone paying the money to go and see it. There are so many other, maybe better companies out there doing shows for the same price or cheaper. There were far to many flaws in the acting, staging and production values of this show. If a little more attention were paid to things it would have been so much better. Details are what makes a show. They seemed to rely to much on the popularity of the movie and the actors in the movie, which I have never seen by the way, to draw a crowd to the show. The crowd by the way being of a fair size but most likely just Kudzu Playhouse groupies. I wonder how many people actually paid for their tickets. Hopefully the next thing I see at Kudzu will be better, The Magician’s Nephew was excellent so I will be back.
As for shaking the audience's hands as they leave the lobby, I did not like that. If I want to congratulate you, I will wait and seek you out. It was very awkward to leave. I felt that I had to shake their hands. I did not particularly want to becasue of the unfriendliness projected during the curtain call. It was still there at the door.

Since names seem to be improtant.... here is mine....

- Chris Dills

Angels in America, Part One: Millenium Approaches, by Tony Kushner
A Must See
Saturday, June 18, 2005
5.0
I saw Angels in America: Part One last night, the preview night. Like the previous reviewer, reviewing a preformance on the preview night might not be the best thing but this production is fabulous. Its message, its satire on America, politics, social hierarchy, and the relationships between people and how little things truly do affect them not to mention us all. Tony Kushner is an amzing playwright with a true gift for the written word. His characters are priceless.
The actors is the show were par for the course at OSA which is superd. The most memorable were Nick Tecosky (Louis), Jeroy Hannah (Roy Cohn), Kim Salome (Hannah Pitt & Ethel Rosenburg)... I saw her in Rebecca, she commands the stage and her voice is one of a kind... and of course Chris Skinner with his unbelievable portrayal of Prior. Prior is such a complex character and what he goes through I cannot imagine trying to portray. His battle with AIDS, his visons, the angel, all I can say is wow.
And now the Angel, the character that is alluded to throughout the play yet is only seen very briefly in part one is amazing. Tracy Moore the costme designer... who I was amazed to see there as we went to school together... did a fabulous job. Onstage has a little main stage, but in that space they litterally flew the angel. While it was only a foot or so, it was very impressive. This effect combined with the interesting set concept of Scott Rousseau, his staging, the lighting by J.D. Williams... who I have had the pleasure of working with previously..., the special effects, and the actors flawless portrayal of this epic, mature play that truly does transend time and has meaning somehow for everyone, made this show priceless.
Now for some crtiques... this was the preview night so goof ups are expected and there really weren't that many. The set, while amazing, seems to be poorly put together, there are these sets of doors that the actors and crew come in and out of that meet at a column. That column constantly wobbles when those doors are opened and closed. When the doors are opened the audience can see clearly back onto the backstage area, and if you have ever been backstage at OSA, the elevator stage right while interesting doesn't add much to a production. As a back drop there are two screens that are mounted on to a track midstage in the ceiling that slide. While it makes for an interesting scrim effect and allows set to come in and out of the elevated plaform in the back, I wish that they had been centered on the stage. The track does not allow for this though, so I understand, It' just skews the perspective, the rest of the set appears as an almost mirror image. I also wish that when the screens were opened and closed that they would be done at the same time. One will close, then the other. Not necessary but would be nice. Also the set/running crew need to work on their organization and movement of the scene changes. It seemed a little disorganized and like the crew was underutilized. Instead of several people doing something at the same time, it would be one person doing three tasks back to back taking longer. I understand that they had trouble getting a crew but it seemed like there were enough members. All in all they need to work on their flow but I am sure that they'll get better, after all it was only a preview and I understand the the longer a show runs the smoother it gets.
The music during the scene changes was too loud and I recognized a lot of the music from hit movies. Very distracting and several times ruined the mood. The sound effects/background noise, while nice in most scenes, were distracting and ill used in others. Oh, and I'm not sure on this but if I remember right from when I read the play, some modern lines were added in. For example when the Angel is coming and the lights are changing to colors, Prior says, "Oh, very Steven Spielburg" I dont think that was in the script, and I thought it killed the climax of the Angel's appearance.
All in all though, EXCELLENT, A MUST SEE!!!! I am just very critical, and the above if fixed could have made the show even better. I am sure that they will though and when I go back to see it agian and when I go to see Part Two that openes July 15th it will be even more amazing. Be sure and see this show!!!!

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