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Theatre
Tired and Feathered: "The Ugly Duckling," at the Circa โ€™21 Dinner Playhouse through July 29 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 18 July 2006 22:25

Jenny Stodd and Liz Coyne Anyone old enough to read this - anyone old enough to read - is probably too old to enjoy The Ugly Duckling at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse.

 
Math Magicians: "Proof," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through July 16 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 22:38

Generally, when attending a play at Geneseo's Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, it doesn't matter where you sit; the venue's shows are presented theatre-in-the-round-style, and more often than not, Richmond Hill's directors stage their works accordingly, giving audiences a fine view of the action from anywhere in the house.

Jessica Nicol and David Kintigh For its production of David Auburn's Proof, however, the theatre's playing area has been transformed into a three-quarter-thrust stage (Proof's front-porch setting designed against the Barn's fourth wall), and at the Friday-night performance I attended, the "best seats in the house," directly facing the set, were already filled by the time I arrived; instead, I took a seat on the stage-left side of the theatre. But for future Proof audiences - and I hope that includes many, many of you - who may find themselves in a similar situation, I'm here to tell you not to sweat the view in the least.

 
Yankee Doodle Not-So-Dandy: "George M!," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through July 16 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 22:37

George M! As the title character in the Quad City Music Guild's presentation of George M!, Kevin Pieper works his tail off. His Broadway impresario George Cohan belts out number after number, he tap dances, he storms through scenes with natural authority; in this musical-comedy biography, the role of Cohan is practically a show unto himself, and the energy that Pieper gives the part is admirable.

More often than not, though, it's energy in a void, because with precious few exceptions, the George M! ensemble isn't giving anything back. At any given time, there are up to 44 performers sharing the stage with Pieper, yet it takes little more than one hand to count the number of them who look pleased to be there. Thursday's preview performance, at least, showed Pieper having to work both the audience and the cast, and that's more responsibility than any single performer should be burdened with.

 
Smiles on a Summer Night: "Seven Against Thebes" and "Antigone," at Lincoln Park through July 16 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 11 July 2006 22:35

Greek drama is designed to make audiences think and feel, and while I'm not sure I did much of either at the Saturday-night performances in Rock Island's Lincoln Park, I sure did grin a lot.

Chris Hicks, Bryan Woods, and Rae Mary Regardless of style or genre, entertaining theatre has a way of putting audiences in great moods - I've personally smiled through well-staged productions of such varied, inherently tragic shows as Death of a Salesman and A Streetcar Named Desire and Hedda Gabler. And despite their seriousness, Genesius Guild's Seven Against Thebes and Antigone were a terrific time; the shows may not have had the knockabout power you hope for from Greek drama, but they certainly were enjoyable.

 
Golden Oldies: "On Golden Pond," at the Circa โ€™21 Dinner Playhouse through September 2 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 04 July 2006 22:38

Michael Kennedy and Barbara Fayth Humphrey A half-hour before Friday's performance of On Golden Pond at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, the theatre's producer (and Pond director) Dennis Hitchcock took the stage, and after making the traditional opening-night welcomes, warned that the show's first act alone ran nearly 80 minutes - a long haul, he explained, for elder audiences. Yet I'm thinking that Hitchcock's announcement was made less out of concern for the crowd's bladders than out of justifiable pride - a trek to the restroom would force people to miss parts of the show, and with the stunningly fine performance Michael Kennedy is giving here, who would want to miss even one?

 
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