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REVIEWERS SIX DEGREES
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Average Rating Given : 3.00000
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REVIEWS

Guys and Dolls, by
This could have been so good
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
2.0
I absolutely concur with Oakley Dokely’s review of the show. The male leads, I feel were totally miscast and I cared about them not one whit. In fact, I cringed several times during their songs. Both have passable voices, I’m sure, but neither was right for this show, particularly with the most wonderful female leads. Part of the success of the show is the look it presents. This production was very very uneven. On the one hand, Nathan Detroit was sartorially splendid, but I had a difficult time with the bald head. The Sky Masterson, who supposedly has money to burn looked like thrown together dregs from the rack after everyone else picked out their costumes. Horrible. The costumes were always iffy. They were either spectacular (Detroit, the “Take Back Your Mink” number, Miss Adelaide , except for “Bushel & a Peck”, Harry the Horse) or totally and offputtingly horrible (Big Julie, Sky Masterson, the poodle skirt (?), few hats or gloves to finish outfits.)

I did not like the drum. I thought it was unnecessary and disrupted the rhythm of the show.

The whole show, I kept counting all the guys to see if they had the requisite dozen sinners that Sky promised. They didn’t, but used the ladies to fill it out. It worked, but I felt it took away from the vibrancy of the “Sit Down Your Rocking The Boat” number, which could have used more choreography and more energy. That is the only quibble with choreography, which was otherwise stellar.

I am afraid that in their quest to put butts in the seats by casting only newcomers (save one) they are undermining the overall quality of productions that a few more veterans could bring to the stage and backstage. In addition, putting on two guy heavy shows at the same time is utterly foolish and liquidates and already scarce commodity in the theatre—male talent. It did not hurt Romeo and Juliet. It did hurt Guys and Dolls.

Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
I will see it again
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
4.0
Romeo and Juliet—aaah the bane of freshman literature class. But everybody knows the tale and it can be played with and given new treatments to freshen it up, but still remains the same story. A boffo and riveting first act and a mind-bogginly boring second act.

So you go for the first act, to hear the famous lines, to see how this director has handled the chemistry of the lovers, and to see how the most vibrant characters get portrayed.

The scene changing jester was darling and knew the script well interacting when appropriate. The other jester figure I could never understand. The costumes were not innovative, using the same color scemes as thousands of other productions, but they were fun, particularly the boas (screamingly funny on the brooding Tybalt). The two heads of households should have been costumed in approximately the same manner. I could not tell who Romeo’s father was until the end.

I loved the Nurse. I thought the character played well against the others in the cast. More could have/should have been done with the Friar, who is very talented. Romeo was a very nice very traditional Romeo, but paled against the brilliant casting and reworking of Tybalt and Mercutio. These two are worth the price of admission on their own. What are they doing in community theatre you ask? Having fun!!! For many of us that is the whole point of doing community theatre; not looking to make it big somewhere—just having fun and bringing pleasure and joy to someone else’s life. My teenager got a greater appreciation of Shakespeare watching these two strut their stuff and having fun doing it than reading it dryly in a classroom. This is a good thing.

But once the fatal lines: “a plague on both your houses” are uttered by a dying Mercutio the play descends, as usual into moribund dreariness. Laura Nagle did a good job editing and it did not run as long as it could have, but it is hard to have a great first act and not much to work with after. Not the fault of this theater group though.

I liked it enough to go back, although mostly for Tybalt and Mercutio.

A Christmas Carol, by
On The Other Hand
Monday, December 8, 2003
3.0
I attended this show on Saturday the fifth of December--the eight pm performance. Having read the reviews posted here and knowing the quality of this director's work from past productions I was not anticipating a good show. Last year's "Christmas Carol" at the Cobb Playhouse was excellent, so there was a lot to measure up to in this production.

I was pleasantly surprised.

The continuity apparently is improving, and I noticed no off-key voices this evening. I did not like the Christmas carol scene-change aspect at all; it appeared to strain the actor's voices over the evening. There are many choices for scene change music that could have been incorporated with a little care and time. There did not appear to be any sound effects and the lighting was not exciting. Slapping a blue gel on one light does not a lighting scheme make.

I was very impressed by the ghosts, save one. The winsome, capering first Past was charming. Good voice. The second Past seemed full of teenage angst which I thought was a nice touch. I wish the grown-up Past had more verve.
The female Christmas present (Lani Brooks) was a true earth mother. She portrayed the character with an earthy richness that was refreshing in its difference. Sassy and sexy, the looks and aside comments she gave Scrooge were well-timed. Christmas Yet To Come was chilling and perfectly cast, as were Camillo's other roles. The comedic turn he took as Plum showed that he does have the acting chops.

Randy Rudolph reprised the role from last year and has mellowed into it well. Last year was good--this year was stellar. Hats off to Mr. Rudolph.
For the most part the acting was good. In particular, I enjoyed the comical, subservient, downtrodden but never down Bob Crachit, the incandescent Rachael Eblen, the voices of the caroling children (Alex Mercuri especially), Shawn Loflin as the young adult Scrooge, Bob Mattox, particularly as the guest at Fred's house and Victoria whose seems very much at home on the stage.

The costumes were erratic--some were very good and some looked too thrown together. Attention to the smaller details like shoes and outside wear when doing outside scenes would have helped. These things are important to theatre-goers. As it was, during the party scene at Fred's, all I could focus on were the sandals on one of the guests’ feet.

Set changes appeared to be picking up--the entire cast seemed to be working together to insure smooth transitions. Care should have been taken when choosing set pieces however to ease the time it took. One longer table for the Crachit home would have been better than two. Minimalist sets require much more work than most people think and time should be taken pre-production to work out the kinks. The first weekend is not the time to straighten all that stuff out. A stage manager is absolutely necessary to do this--and not somebody who is assigned to the position, but somebody who has contracted to do that job and that job only. Anything else is slap-dash money-saving measures and it shows in the end product.

And, I suppose, in a nutshell, the end product is what all the brouhaha is about. The actors can do everything in their power to learn their lines, moves, interactions, etc, but if they are stymied by the director/producer it will show. Good actors can make a badly done show passable and sometimes entertaining and that is what has happened in this case. There was obviously not enough time or care or thought put into the show before it debuted and it took a while to work it out. Worked out it has, and the actors in this show should be very proud of the show they have pulled off. They say adversity makes you closer and stronger. The travails these guys have gone through to bring this show to the stage will be lasting memories for them.

Don’t miss this show.

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