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mapobeancake [ALL REVIEWERS]
Companies Reviewed#
Onstage Atlanta, Inc.2
Theatre Decatur1
Average Rating Given : 4.16667
Reviews in Last 6 months :

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts
Minimalists in Love
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Theatre Decatur takes a turn for the mainstream with their current production of the musical review I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. Being a fan of this show (as well as the Horizon productions of years past)I was expecting little from a touch and go establishment such as Theatre Decatur. But I gladly give props to the cast and director of this production for the show's charming simplicity and focus on the true themes of the show by focusing in on the words and music. I thought this production was a nice combination of style and substance without sacrificing too much on the production end. It was a very simple set with just a few moveable set pieces all quickly moved off and on by the actors in between scenes.
All four cast members held their own throughout multiple characters, costume and scene changes and the energetic momentum continued to the very end. Erin Lorette's beautiful soprano served her solo " I Will Be Loved Tonight" very well, leaving her alone on a bare stage, allowing the audience to feel her sense of loneliness seasoned with a recent dash of hope. Lorette also shined in the dating video monologue, and despite the technical glitch the night I saw it, managed to convey a bevy of neuroses with just a tilt of her head or a furrow of her brow.
Brian Porter also provided the show with some of its most entertaining moments such has his hilarious portrayal of a nerd in love "A Stud and A Babe" (with Lorette) to his soaring and beautiful tenor in the middle-aged love song "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You". Porter's comic timing matched with his unstoppable voice makes him one of the best performers I have seen onstage in Atlanta recently. John Markowski and Amanda Wilborn shared one of their best moments in the "Tear Jerk" number where they both shared an hilarous dual interpretation of the same movie on their first date. My favorite number in the show had to be the "He Called Me" number featuring the the whole ensemble in a campy colorful number including pizza delivery men, a nagging mother and disco ball.
Theatre Decatur seems to have hit a stride with this production. My only real complaint was the excessively long curtain speech that was given by the Managing Director. He went on and on and on and on about the upcoming season of shows and asked for donations to the point that I felt exhausted before the show even began!It was rather self-indulgent and distrating to be honest. The focus should have been on the show we were about to see...Did I mention how long it was??

Despite the small lighting issues that were mentioned in the previous review (for which I concur), this production of I Love You, You're Perfect Now change works best due to some very adept and minimalist direction and the stellar cast of actors. As a result, the show focuses more on what the actors are saying and singing to one another and scales back on clunky set issues which have sometimes mired productions of this show in the past. It is a charming and hilarious night of theatre that I think anyone would be able to enjoy and one that I highly recommend.

BASH (latterday plays), by Neil Labute
A Huge Improvement for OSA
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
I've attended OSA performances off and on for the past couple of years and pretty much gave up on the theatre after seeing some truly sub-par productions over the past year from Victor/Victoria to Greater Tuna. After witnessing the insult to paying customers that was Greater Tuna, I completely stopped attending shows at what used to be a pretty good theatre.
Two reasons brought me back this time however. First I had heard that there was new management at the theatre which I was thrilled to hear about, but I am also a huge Neil LaBute fan, and I wanted to see what OSA was planning on doing with a show so dark and out of their comfort zone.
I was more than pleasantly surprised to discover upon arrival that there were actually people there to welcome and greet me (something I have never experienced at that theatre and have often complained about). Also the lobby was clean, well lit, and very welcoming. The bathrooms were clean! There was coffee and places to sit down! I couldn't believe it!
Then the biggest surprise of all was that the show was tremendous and shocking and just very well done. The level of professionalism that was brought to the production was just miles ahead of any of the crap I have seen there in the past. The smaller theatre space (now called StudioStage instead of that bizarre chemical equation O2 name it had before) was painted all black and had the feel of a true black box theatre space, which lent itself well to the dark psychology of the show.
The music selection, the lighting, the directing were all so subtle and chilling you really had no idea what to expect next. Each monologue was well paced and the actors provided just the right arc to transform from funny charming individuals into cold blooded killers with no remorse for what they did. Then they took you right out of it and had you laughing with them again, making the audience oddly sympathetic with people who have committed some of the most horrendous crimes imaginable. Just very well acting and directed overall.

I can only hope that with this new team the professionalism will continue into their future shows. If the productions are half as well done as BASH, then it will still be a huge step above what I've seen in the past at OSA.

Kudos to the amazing cast of this show. Well done. As I noticed in the other reviews, there was a very small audience when I attended. It is truly a pity, because this is a show for anyone who appreciates riveting intimate raw theatre without bombast and spectacle. The words and mood do all the work here.

Kiss of the Spider Woman, by Terrence McNally; Music and Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb
Lead Actors Keep Kiss of the Spider Woman Above Water
Saturday, November 4, 2006
The leading actors of Kiss of the Spider Woman, Brian Porter and Luke Dreiling, who play Molina and Valentin respectively, elevate the production above the less than stellar set and costumes the cast are given to work with throughout the production.
It is a testament to the skills of the two leads that despite the surrounding technical distractions (or lack thereof), the audience still remains rivited by the intimate scenes the two actors share, not to mention their flawless vocal performances. The show works best when the focus returns to the tiny cell space shared by the two main characters, giving them the chance to really shine in their connective abilities as performers. Both actors are blessed with strong beautiful voices that soar above the exciting and romantic latin flavored score supported with electrifying flair by music director Clay Causey.
As Aurora, the Spider Woman of the title, Sims Banes certainly looks and sounds the part with her smokey alto and come hither glare. Sadly she ends up often wandering the stage with really nothing to do except being swallowed up by a shockingly sterile set that looks as if it is still awaiting a final design. While Aurora is a symbol and extension of Molina's imagination and desire to survive, here she is simply a lady who comes out every now and then in a gawdyliy inappropriate costume, sings a song and then disappears. There is no connective bond between the characters and at no fault to the two wonderful performers. Unfortunately the fault lies elsewhere in this production. Aurora is a B-movie icon whom Molina conjures in his imagination to take him away from prison and into the techicolor world of Hollywood musicals of the 1940s. Nearly ever song Aurora sings is clearly meant to be a big colorful musical number, exquisitely set-up and and vividly described by Porter's Molina before each number begins (a perfect blue-print for the director). Anyone watching the show would expect, after Porter's set-up of each song, for there to be a HUGE florish of color and a big splashy number to wisk the audience away. Instead, number after number, poor Banes with her big beautiful voice and sexy allure is forced to dance in front of the big beige/grey "open space" with four back-up dancers who are reduced to dancing in makeshift costumes such as Hawaiian shirts to represent the "tropical" number. One wonders how the director could have possibly missed such a fantastic opportunity to have fun with lights, costumes, and total over-the-top camp factor. A little more imagination could have gone a long way, as well as a better understanding of the script by the production staff and director.

Despite these problems, Kiss of the Spider Woman does have its truly great moments as well. Barbara Cole does a whole lot with very little as Molina's faithfully sweet apple pie of a mother in the few scenes she has with Porter's Molina. Together these engaging actors create a couple of truly heartbreaking scenes and Coles' soothing voice is a reassuring chime throughout the show.

However newcomer Brian Porter's performance is what keeps the show's head above water and is well worth the ticket price alone. As Molina he is at once a sassy and sly observer of everything fabulous and then turns around and breaks your heart with his vulnerbility and strength under dire circumstances. In his Atlanta theatre debut his touchingly brave and engagingly hilarious performance rises above the blahness of the this production and raises the bar for all male singers to follow on the Atlanta stage. Certainly someone to look out for down the road.

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