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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Cobb Playhouse and Studio1
Stage Door Players1
Average Rating Given : 3.50000
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REVIEWS

You're A Good Man Charlie Brown, by Clark Gesner
What a Good Show, Charlie Brown!
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
4.0
I saw this show this past weekend and was delighted! It was a well-put-together, colorful, fun production. And judging from the laughs and standing ovation at the end, I wasn’t the only one who thought so either. The vocals in this show were at times, exemplary (Mr. Garrison) and at other times, ok (John Hardy and Jimi Kocina). The sets were bright and vibrant and the costumer did a nice job coordinating character costumes to set, and also to traditional “Peanuts” attire. I did think a couple of the costumes (Lucy and Snoopy) were not on par with the others, but overall created a nice visual effect.
I will agree with the other reviewer here (line!) in that I wasn’t thrilled with the male casting, although I think all did an admirable job with their characters.
However, I have to completely disagree with him/her with the statement, “I just don’t feel that Schroeder, a reserved classical pianist, would normally be expected to posses such a strong “gospel” voice quality.” Beethoven’s Day is considered by many to be one of the best songs in the show- and Royce Garrison’s voice did the song justice. He was wonderful! I was a little thrown off by his portrayal of Schroeder though. He chose to play Schroeder much more hyper, frantic and excitable than I remember from the many Charlie Brown specials I would avidly watch in my youth. Schroeder is, as line! pointed out, the reserved, classical pianist, and that did not come through. And yes, his physical size in comparison to the other actors was a little off, something that I think would perhaps have worked a little better for the characters Charlie Brown or Snoopy (and I can only imagine how wonderful Suppertime would sound with that voice).
I thought Chase Davidson was very convincing. Yes, he is adorable- and one might say “too cute” t o play the lovable loser of Charlie Brown, but I really think he pulled it off with aplomb. The Kite song, a very difficult song to sing, was marvelous!
Jimi Kocina was fantastic as Snoopy- even sounding like Snoopy on many of his ad-libbed barks, whines or whoops. He also had (and yes, it took me a little while into the show to realize this was what he was doing), Snoopy’s way of walking on two feet and keeping his front “paws” bent back at all times. Mr. Kocina’s comedic timing was flawless, and got many more laughs than other Snoopys I have seen In the past- or at least in scenes where the laughs don’t usually come to him. As a matter of fact, at one point, the woman sitting next to me turned and said, “That Snoopy is really stealing the whole show.” While I didn’t agree with this statement, I did think he was great.
I thought John Hardy as Linus, was passable. To me, this is the least memorable character as written, and it takes a hell of a lot of stage presence and genius to outshine the other roles here. Mr. Hardy held his own, but didn’t sparkle. This was the one part I felt was miscast. To me, Mr. Hardy looked like the oldest cast member, and his dark coloring in contrast with everyone else on stage made the ensemble look more unbalanced than Mr. Garrison’s physical size (as commented line!).
Liz Birmingham was sensational as Sally. This is not the first time I have seen Ms. Birmingham on stage, and just like the last time, I think she steals every scene she enters. She has magnetism and vivaciousness that oozes forth from her on stage and the audience wants to eat up. Add to that a wonderful singing voice, and a speaking voice that sounds straight out of a cartoon- and you have the makings your real show stealer.
Lastly, Taylor Driscoll as Lucy. I thought Ms. Driscoll was good in the part. I thought she drastically improved the quality and overall “listenability” of Lucy’s songs, but I felt like her acting was missing something. I felt like every line was delivered directly to the audience, regardless of the scene. I thought she did a very good job, but I felt like something was lacking in her energy, spontaneity, or her level of fun-something that the others had. Like I said, I am very familiar with the show, and usually find some of Lucy’s lines to be the funniest in the show. That wasn’t the case here. Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Schroeder and Sally seemed to really hone in on their sense of play and the child within, while Lucy and Linus were more reserved. Based on the cartoons, that can work for Linus, not for Lucy. I’m not being very articulate with what I felt was missing from the performance, and that’s because it was a very good performance, perhaps the best way to put this is, I don’t think this is or will be Ms. Driscoll’s best role, but she is a good actress and carries off a part.
I wish there were half rating, because I would give this a 4.5 rating. I could not give it a 5 based on the things I have named, most notably, the vocals in some of the numbers (some of the more noteworthy numbers at that) but this was a great show and I had a great time. For anyone who didn’t get to make it there- you missed a helluva good time!


Oliver!, by Lionel Bart
Reviewing the Situation
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
3.0
I saw this production this past weekend and was pleasantly surprised. I have avoided Cobb productions in general for several years now, as the quality of the performances had gone downhill to such a point, as to make the shows more of a tribute of what NOT to do in a show, as opposed to just good entertainment. Which, I might add, is all I really expect to see from a community theater production. It is a community theater after all- people performing for the love of theater, certainly not the pay. However, as I AM paying to see the show, I do expect to be entertained and not tortured. As I said, I had given up attending shows at Cobb for a while now, because I really thought I should be the one being paid for sitting through what amounted to almost cruel and unusual torture. As I said, this was not the case with this show, I was pleasantly surprised.
Certain performances should be noted, specifically Martin Smith as Fagin, and Luke Williams as Bill Sykes. These two roles were done admirably. There was some volume lacking in some of Fagin’s songs, but his voice was absolutely beautiful. Mr. Williams gave a dimension to Bill Sykes I have not seen in other performances of this show, and it was wonderful. Kudos to you both! Also, this was probably one of the best ensemble groups of child actors I have seen in a while. All the children stayed in character throughout scenes- something missed in many adult actors at times. There were a number of other good performances in the show, just none that after 4 days truly stand out in my mind.
With that said, there were also a few notable problems with the show. Brad Mangrum brought an entirely new aspect to Mr. Bumbles, with some real comedic bits, but alas could not hit a correct note, and this is one I would consider a MAJOR singing role in the show. His songs are some of the most famous from the show, and were unbearable to listen to. Amanda Pickard as Nancy seemed miscast to me. I could tell that the songs were taken up in range to accommodate her voice, which is a pleasant sounding soprano-ish voice. This is not a soprano role, and I felt like a lot was taken from the character in the way that the songs were sung. Nancy’s hard-edged, brash character was reduced to a whiny, weak-willed Nancy who seemed to be terrified of Bill all the time, rather than in love with him. This was largely due to this musical change and the way Ms. Pickard chose to play the part. As she was the music director (and choreographer) as well, I can only assume the part was done this way by her choice. Also, there was a spot in Oom Pah Pah where someone else stepped in and finished the song for her. Bravo to the actress who did this, but why cast someone who can’t sing the songs required for the role? Why not cast the actress who had to step in to sing the part? Because she was the music director? It was very confusing to me. Maybe this was something that wasn’t done every night? There was some major problems with lighting the day I was there, as one entire scene was done in darkness. Maybe this was the case with the sound system too in Oom Pah Pah? Unfortunately, there was a song in the darkened scene, and it was completely lost (and it's one of the better ones not included in the movie). The problem seemed to be fixed shortly after, but it was extremely disconcerting. So, while I really did enjoy the show and most of the performances, I would give it a 3.5 due to technical issues, as well as the character issues I had problems with. But hey, this is just my opinion.



CLOSING SOON
Crossing Delancey
by Susan Sandler
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