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Average Rating Given : 3.00000
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REVIEWS

Kiss of the Spider Woman, by Terrence McNally; Music and Lyrics by John Kander & Fred Ebb
Uneven, but worth seeing
Saturday, November 25, 2006
3.0
We just saw Onstage Atlanta's "Kiss of the Spider Woman." Although we were forewarned by some of the reviews on this site, the appeal of the same team that produced the wonderful "Urinetown" was irresistable. Unfortunately, the production was not nearly as good as "Urinetown."

Brian James Porter as Molina was superb-- he's new in town and we are looking forward to seeing him perform in many more plays and musicals. His voice and his acting are first-rate. He was able to create a believable (if campy) Molia and hold it flawlessly throughout the play. Luke Dreiling, while a fine singer in his own right, was miscast as the revolutionary Valentin. I picture a poor South American revolutionary/political prisoner as thin, dark, intense, somewhat unkempt, and committed to "the cause" (OK--think Che Guevara.) Mr Dreiling is a tall, strapping blond with a shaved head and bulging muscles whose character didn't seem committed to much of anything. I just couldn't see him as a political prisoner, much less a downtrodden revolutionary. Sims Lamason is also a talented dancer, singer, and actress. Her dancing in particular was very impressive in "Spider Woman." However, as in "Urinetown," her lovely voice is too weak to be heard above the music (even with a mic) and it is difficult to understand the words she sings. She would be an excellent cabaret singer or recording artist, but she's not really cut out for musical theater.

I didn't understand the significance of all the criticisms about the costumes I saw postsed on this site. Costumes, while helpful, aren't really that important to the success of a production, are they? Well, now I understand. The play is set in an unnamed country in South America. But the costumes were 1950's American midwest. Really jarring! Imagine having Valentin's love interest (Marta) appear in a black short-sleeved sweater and houndstooth check straight skirt. She looked like a dowdy June Cleaver. Molina's mother (the very talented Ami Rosen) was dressed in cotton shirtwaists that are too fancy and frilly to be considered "housedresses" and they bear absolutely no resemblance to anything South American. Costume designer Nancye Hilley really should have done more cultural and historical research.

The play was enjoyable because of all the talent in the cast, including the wonderful chorus. And the choreography was very well done and well-executed. But I suspect that director Greg Poulos wanted to minimize the South American setting of the play-- make it more of a "it could happen here" sort of thing. But the result is that he had to give up the Latin passion, suffering, and hope, and ended up with a bland, generic, passionless production.

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