Four shows, three days. Three shows down.
The Texas Chainsaw Musical
Boy, what a disappointment. I was expecting camp, rock, parody and a little late night raunch — with MUCH blood splatter for fun. Instead, we got a 45 minute painfully faithful reenactment of the movie with some crappy rock tunes, featuring a “guitar off” between two of the characters. The opening number suggested something aligned with my expectations, and then it just sucked from that point forward. And the blood splatter? Didn’t see it. It also doesn’t help when 99% of the massacre action takes place upstage on a riser or behind a wall. FAIL.
Caroline, or Change
Wow. I haven’t been this moved by a production in lord knows how long.
E. Faye Butler, man. Now this is a woman who can command a stage. I was immediately hooked in literally the first few seconds. A spotlight opened on Butler, who was humming and folding laundry, and someone was fiddling with their cell phone in the audience making beeping noises. Butler stopped folding, and with a look to kill, peered into the direction of the sound for about 10 seconds. When the beeping stopped, she continued the scene.
(Side Note: The audience this afternoon was full of hacking coughers. One woman in particular would hack away every 3 minutes. And several elderly couples would talk, loudly, during key scenes to each other. WTF??)
Let’s not even discuss Butler’s “Lot’s Wife,” and everything following that number. It simply blew my mind. There was a point where Butler opened her mouth to bellow a line, and I am almost certain I saw smoke coming from her mouth.
The rest of the cast was just perfection – particularly Malcolm Durning (one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from a kid) as Noah, a visibly pregnant Kate Fry as Noah’s mother Rose, and Melanie Brezill as Emmie, Caroline’s daughter (her “I Hate the Bus” took my breath away). The women playing the Radio, Washer and Moon were also fantastic. Heck – there wasn’t a weak link.
The show is smashing box office records, and I happened to attend the “record breaking” performance, celebrating the most attended show in Court Theatre’s history. I was one of several audience members randomly pulled aside after the show for an on-camera interview. I think I gave some good (and honest) sound bytes about how impressed I was with the show and The Court Theatre. But I hope they’re not used in any way due to my horrible chin acne which has propelled me to Lon Cheney status lately.
Turn of the Century
Yet again, The Goodman has given us a slick production of disappointing material. Much like “The Visit,” “Bounce,” and this play, I went in with high expectations and left bummed. This is Tommy Tune putting his stamp on classic music from the American Songbook! I wanted showy, jaw-dropping production numbers and innovative staging. Instead we got a strange plot device, a sub-par and slimy performance from a minor Hollywood celebrity and a “Grand Finale” that somehow was neither grand nor finale. That said, the costumes were fabulous, a few segments were pretty spectacular, and Rachel York again proved why she’s one of the greatest leading ladies out there. Girl carried the show on her back, she did. I don’t expect it to have much of a life beyond The Goodman.
Another thing – this show was so LOUD. Like rock concert loud. I couldn’t believe how amplified everything was. I don’t ever recall a show being so loud before – a practice that I think is becoming the trend. People want and expect IMAX quality surround sound in all venues.
One more to go! But first – off to bed for my practice run tomorrow. Night!