Thursday, February 26, 2015

another bite of the apple

One of the fun things to do when it comes to having basically two theater seasons, is to see what plays have found resonance for both the southern (Sarasota area) and northern (City of Chicago) theatre companies.  Last year I saw a north and a south production of 4000 Miles (Northlight and Asolo) and this year it is Both Your Houses (Remy Bumppo and Asolo).  A side note both Florida Studio Theater and Northlight are doing productions of Chapatti but the schedule for Northlight was mid winter so I will only get to see the southern production of Chapatti-

but back to Both Your Houses...

so my review of the Remy Bumppo (Chicago) production was this:

This play is from an era when quick snappy dialogue was king and the speed of the delivery of the lines might be an issue for the hard of hearing but it certainly put verve into the fun the characters were having - not unlike the James Spader performance in Lincoln - these guys (mostly) reveled in the chaotic process of divvying up the spoils available in the pork barrel additions to the spending/appropriations bill the president has asked for to complete a badly needed dam. 

Although I didn't find the story such that I was on the edge of my seat - that may be due to 21st century cynicism about the process that the 1933 audience may not have developed... the evening entertainment was worth going out for even in our recent spate of bad weather (cold and rainy)-

full post here-

and here is my review of last night's production- 

I wish Galati would have gone to see the Remy production because the play I saw last night could have been so much more.  First, the Asolo production gets the award for the set design and staging- really excellent handling of the movements from room to room throughout the play. That said, this version was leaden, pedantic, preachy. It never took off.   The Remy players had a great time- it was snappy and peppy and reminded me of one of those old movies with Tracy & Hepburn or some newspaper film story with everyone rushing around to get things done at the last minute.  The only person who was having a good time last night was Doug Jones who was chewing up scenes full of hyperbole with style... a part David Darlow did equally well with at Remy.

In the Remy play, the romance between McClean and the congressional assistant was fleshed out and the role of Bus Nillson seemed bigger and more integral to the action - played ferociously by the terrific Linda Gillum, her motivation had clarity in the Chicago production that it lacked in this one. The pace was brisk and the dialogue snappy. This production just never got off the ground to me.  

So sadly - you no longer have the choice of seeing the Remy Bumppo production but for anyone out there who might be thinking of staging this play in the future- I would recommend that approach to the work rather than the Asolo one.  A rare "fail" for Asolo.  

Good news- we have at least two  more productions at Asolo to bring back their usual WOW factor for theater goers... so, as always, stay tuned!

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