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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
A User-Driven Site for Theater in Atlanta, Georgia
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Companies Reviewed#
North Spings High School Drama Department4
Rosewater Theatre Company1
Blackwell Playhouse1
Average Rating Given : 3.50000
Reviews in Last 6 months :
REVIEWS

Little Shop of Horrors, by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman
What a show!
Monday, October 12, 2009
4.5
I'm behind on my reviews having sampled "Sweeney Todd" at the Rosewater, "The Diary of Anne Frank" at the Blackwell Playhouse, "and "Don't Dress For Dinner" at the Rosewater. But I felt compelled to write this after seeing North Springs High School's presentation of "Little Shop of Horrors!" I fell in love with this performing arts school's productions when friends took me to "Hamlet" - an unbelievably ambitious undertaking for anyone that delivered beautifully. I returned with my fiance for "Wizard of Oz" and, though I was entertained, I did find myself disappointed in the calibre of talent on the stage. But not being one to give up on a good entertainment value, my fiance and I ventured forth to attend "Little Shop of Horrors" - and we're glad we did! All I can say is "what a show!" The Greek chorus of three Supremes-esque girls rocked the house, the young man portraying Musnick was superb, and Seymour was a great mix of a nebbish with a voice. But it was the girl cast as Audrey that lit up the stage. She was at once absurd, credible and vulnerable. Her accent and movements were spot on and her voice was incredible -
one wonders if she's new to the program or where she was when Oz was cast (not that the Dorothy they
cast didn't do an okay job). Not even the amazing man eating plant, a usual scene stealer, could outshine
this amazing girl's stage presence. The young man playing Orin, the dentist, proved to be incredibly talented after a rocky start. And kudos to the puppeteers and the voice of Audrey II for an amazing performance. We will be back -- and bringing more potential fans with us! Thanks for the show.

The Wizard of Oz, by
We're definitely not in Kansas anymore...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
2.0
trouble is, we're not in Oz, either! Considering how much I enjoyed the elegantly sparse "Hamlet" of this past fall, I was eagerly anticipating "The Wizard of Oz"...especially after being told that the spring musical is where this performing arts high school puts most of its effort, time and money. So needless to say, I expected greatness. Unfortunately, my expectations fell flatter than, well, Kansas.
First let me say, this is a big show, a really big show and it may have worked against them. Too many people, too many sets, too many effects that didn't really work. This particular production used kids from a local middle school and grade school as munchkins, peppered with a few awkwardly placed high school students. While the kids were cute (and certainly, enthusiastic) and I'm sure their casting filled seats with friends and relatives, they gave the production a distinctly middle school theatre feel. The sets, with the exception of the Kansas homestead, were extremely amateurish, far too numerous and the constant scene changes quite distracting. And my first impression of the population of the Emerald City was that of a scene from "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" gone horribly awry. The pretty redheaded Dorothy had the cornfed good looks for the part, and though not a strong actor, had a truly beautiful voice, really knocking it out of the park with "Over the Rainbow." In fact, none of the leads showed strong acting skills in this production, but I'm sure that it's nothing that a few more years at this performing arts high school can't fix. The cowardly lion was a crowd pleaser with the little kids in the audience -- but who wouldn't laugh at Bert Lahr, and this actor certainly mimicked Lahr's movements and inflection exactly. The witch seemed uncomfortable with flying and with her flame-flowing broom, though she seemed to embrace her wicked witch voice. But the crowd favorite was the Scarecrow, the only truly original character representation in the entire show! Everyone loved him! And though the flying monkeys looked like black bats, they were quite a hit when they came screeching in from the back of the auditorium while others were flying onto the stage. Now that was pure theatre! But for the most part, none of the cast (except the "imported" munchkins) seemed to be having fun except while performing a wonderful number called "Jitterbug." The infectious dancers seemed to infect everyone with the joy of being on stage, at least for a little while. That number was the bright spot in this otherwise mediocre offering.
Now please don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad production. In fact, it might even be classified as good for a "regular" high school or middle school. It's just not what I expected from a performing arts magnet high school, especially based on the performance that I viewed in the fall. And I apparently wasn't the only one who felt like this. My wife and I attended the show with long time patrons of
North Springs who had a daughter that graduated from the program five years ago and who haven't missed a show since she attended. According to them, this is the most disappointing production they have ever seen the school present. But all agree that they judge this school by different standards than most. Even with my disenchantment with this production, though, I do plan to be seated in the audience for North Springs next offering. It's still a nice bit of entertainment for the bucks.

The Wizard of Oz, by
We're definitely not in Kansas anymore...
Saturday, March 14, 2009
2.0
trouble is, we're not in Oz, either! Considering how much I enjoyed the elegantly sparse "Hamlet" of this past fall, I was eagerly anticipating "The Wizard of Oz"...especially after being told that the spring musical is where this performing arts high school puts most of its effort, time and money. So needless to say, I expected greatness. Unfortunately, my expectations fell flatter than, well, Kansas.
First let me say, this is a big show, a really big show and it may have worked against them. Too many people, too many sets, too many effects that didn't really work. This particular production used kids from a local middle school and grade school as munchkins, peppered with a few awkwardly placed high school students. While the kids were cute (and certainly, enthusiastic) and I'm sure their casting filled seats with friends and relatives, they gave the production a distinctly middle school theatre feel. The sets, with the exception of the Kansas homestead, were extremely amateurish, far too numerous and the constant scene changes quite distracting. And my first impression of the population of the Emerald City was that of a scene from "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" gone horribly awry. The pretty redheaded Dorothy had the cornfed good looks for the part, and though not a strong actor, had a truly beautiful voice, really knocking it out of the park with "Over the Rainbow." In fact, none of the leads showed strong acting skills in this production, but I'm sure that it's nothing that a few more years at this performing arts high school can't fix. The cowardly lion was a crowd pleaser with the little kids in the audience -- but who wouldn't laugh at Bert Lahr, and this actor certainly mimicked Lahr's movements and inflection exactly. The witch seemed uncomfortable with flying and with her flame-flowing broom, though she seemed to embrace her wicked witch voice. But the crowd favorite was the Scarecrow, the only truly original character representation in the entire show! Everyone loved him! And though the flying monkeys looked like black bats, they were quite a hit when they came screeching in from the back of the auditorium while others were flying onto the stage. Now that was pure theatre! But for the most part, none of the cast (except the "imported" munchkins) seemed to be having fun except while performing a wonderful number called "Jitterbug." The infectious dancers seemed to infect everyone with the joy of being on stage, at least for a little while. That number was the bright spot in this otherwise mediocre offering.
Now please don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad production. In fact, it might even be classified as good for a "regular" high school or middle school. It's just not what I expected from a performing arts magnet high school, especially based on the performance that I viewed in the fall. And I apparently wasn't the only one who felt like this. My wife and I attended the show with long time patrons of
North Springs who had a daughter that graduated from the program five years ago and who haven't missed a show since she attended. According to them, this is the most disappointing production they have ever seen the school present. But all agree that they judge this school by different standards than most. Even with my disenchantment with this production, though, I do plan to be seated in the audience for North Springs next offering. It's still a nice bit of entertainment for the bucks.

The Sound of Music, by
Sucker for a Good Musical!
Friday, March 6, 2009
4.0
What can I say? After a long cold winter of staying in with rented movies and pay per view, my favorite time of year is finally here! Musical season! Something about spring seems to bring out the musicals in
Atlanta -- whether it's professional theatre groups, community theatre or high schools. And I look forward to taking in as many as I can this season.
I decided to start with a personal favorite of mine, "The Sound of Music!" So I headed north to the Blackwell Playhouse to see the strip mall version of pre-war Austria. Now I'm not sure if it's because I didn't have high hopes for the quality of the production or the calibre of an ensemble performing in what used to be a retail store, but I was pleasantly surprised! This is a quality production! It's no evening at the Fox, but it's damn good entertainment.
Every featured performer has a voice to beat the band! Truly stellar --and to top that off, the cast seemed to have been carefully chosen for their ability to actually ACT, something often missing in local theatre. I did find the Mother Superior a bit over the top in her interpretation, but I am notoriously hard to please and her voice was heart stopping. Maria, the Captain and the Von Trapp children were everything I hoped for -- and I hoped for alot! I HIGHLY recommend this unexpected gem in the midst of
urban blight. Go while you still can and be pleasantly surprised, too!

No Sex Please, We're British, by Anthony Marriott and Alistair Foot
Mixed Blessings
Friday, October 3, 2008
4.0
Since I love theater in all its forms, from professional to amateur, friends are always dragging me (happily, of course) to their kids' recitals and plays, performance's their fiance, brother, sister, mother, father acted in/directed or sold concessions at! And I've loved each of these experiences for what they were.

So I was thrilled and elated to be invited to a theater that I didn't think I knew, very close to my East Cobb Home. It turns out that the Rosewater Theatre is in the old Roswell Village Playhouse -- and I'm thrilled that this is once again a place to enjoy live theater. It's undergone a wonderful renovation and is now a beautiful two theater space.

That said, I have to say that I enjoyed this production not so much. And I'm at a loss to figure out why!
It's a very funny piece of theater and the performance certainly got a lot of laughs. And each of the individual characters were well cast and well played. Their timing was dead on, they seemed to interact
together well, but they didn't seem to, well, connect! I was a tiny bit underwhelmed, but I may have caught the performance on an off night.

I DO plan to return for any and all other offerings at this unique little venue. I want to do my part to support local theatre - ad like I said, I really couldn't put a finger on why this production didn't gel for me.In fact, maybe it was just me. After all, I did laugh quite a bit -- and that was the purpose of the evening. Maybe I set my expectations to an unreasonably high level after experiencing the unexpectedly good Shakespearean performance I saw last week.

I hope I haven't turned anyone off to "No Sex Please, We're Brittish." It's still very fine theater -- and quite a fun way to spend your entertainment dollar. I plan to return to the Rosewater for every offering.

Hamlet, by
Hamlet
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
4.5
I recently had the pleasure of attending the Saturday, September 27th 7 pm performance of "Hamlet"
at North Springs High School. I went in expecting a slightly better than normal high school show -- it is,
after all, a performing arts high school -- and went away in awe of a director, cast and crew who tackled one of Shakespeare's more difficult plays and did it EXTREMELY WELL in what I am told was a 6 week casting and rehearsal window!

This was by far, my best bang for a $10 entertainment buck -- and I fully intend to look into further productions at this amazing school!

The role of "Hamlet" was exceptionally well played by a young man who normally is featured in a more musical theatre type genre. That he could portray the very complex character of Hamlet this convincingly attests to this kid's talent. Other stand-out performances - and their were many in this show -- included the newly crowned King Claudius (though it should be mentioned that this was not a student performance), his young and lovely queen, Gertrude, Laertes, Horatio and Player 1.

Most of this production, from sets to music, is exceptional - but for me one of the scenes that rang truest was the highly charged confrontation between Hamlet and his mother, Gertrude. The raw emotions, anger, and passion in this scene (not to mention a hint of underlying incestuous sexual tension), as well as the violent physicality of the performance -- complete with hair-pulling - shows two actors with a commitment to do whatever it takes, no matter how personally painful, to make the scene work. Very strong performances by both. Another brilliant piece of work was the scene with young Laertes reacting to the news of his sister, Ophelia's death -- the young actor displayed extreme emotion without being over the top, something even veteran performers have problems with!

And the choreography of the very real feeling sword fighting scene in itself is worth the admission.
This performance is a must to see -- and the window to see it is closing.

I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised that this "Hamlet" was no ordinary high school fare!
This was a performance that I would except from a very seasoned Shakespeare troupe, not a group
of high schoolers. Bravo!

CLOSING SOON
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre
NOW PLAYING
Ada and the Memory Engine
by Lauren Gunderson
Essential Theatre
Another Mother
by G.M. Lupo
Essential Theatre
The Robber Bridegroom
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)
Act 3 Productions
The Spy Who Murdered Me
by Kevin Gillese
Agathas: A Taste of Mystery
The Summer of Our Discontent
by various
Onion Man Productions
Uprooting
by Betty Chaney
Academy Theatre

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