Saturday, April 22, 2006

Another Moonie reviews Mack and Mabel

This time it was Michael Austin. You might remember him as Groucho in Minnie's Boys, and he'll be joining the Moon in Lil Abner. Here are his thoughts:
I thought it was one of the best Moon productions I've ever seen. I had to share my applause.

First off, the score is full of powerful gems; songs that stay with you long after the lights go down. The power of the songs springs not only from their melodies, but also from their deep emotional resonance. It was my first experience with the play, and despite the liberties the script takes in dealing with factual events, I found the writing touching, humorous and intelligent, with refreshing humanity and sense of reality seldom matched in the world of musical theatre.

But of course, all this would be nothing without a tremendous cast to bring it life. I can honestly say that every single person on that stage last night seemed not only perfectly cast, but 100% sincere in their energy, effort and dedication to the piece, and the roles they were playing in it. It would take too long to single actors out, because I would have to single out everyone--It was a joy to see how much pitch-perfect (literally and figuratively!) detail the actors were able to find, both in their lines and between them.

Musical direction and accompaniment from Dave Dubrosky were excellent, as usual. His old-silent-movie-style underscoring of scenes was a particular treat.

The choreography from Staci Arriaga was just right; often uproariously funny in its own right, but always complementing the music and the story perfectly, without taking it over.

Director Dyan McBride deserves a standing ovation for this one. Everything flowed gracefully, every moment of humor was funny, and in every poigniant beat of emotional connection or pain, the audience's sympathy was palpable in the theatre. She filled the production with clever touches that made it seem as though it was written for the intimate performance style that 42nd Street Moon always delivers.

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