Saturday, February 20, 2010

- Theater Review - Beauty and the Beast

OK, I confess.

I am a bit prejudiced against this play. It is definitely not one of my favorites and one that I have seen (at least) once too often. While I usually anticipate going to the theater, I spent days actually dreading this one. I considered giving the tickets away, but in the end my friend convinced me to give it a try.

After sitting through it yet again, I have come to the conclusion that it is not such a bad play....


The kids in the audience loved the show and why not? It is a special night out, possibly their first theater experience, and a live action version of a favorite cartoon.

But for adults, there just isn't much here. Aside from "Be Our Guest" and the title song, this is a largely forgettable score. The sets and effects were good and actually overpowered the performances. While Belle sang well in the higher range, she missed several of the lower notes. The other players turned in adequate performances, offering no threat to Angela Lansbury.

Let us hope that it will be a long, long time before this beastly show plays Peoria again.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

- Theater Review - Rabbit Hole

The Corn Stock Winter Playhouse continues its stellar 2009-2010 season with "Rabbit Hole" by David Lindsay-Abaire.

This Pulitzer Prize winning play is a dead serious drama about loss and grief and emotional recovery. It is the story of a young couple, Becca and Howie (Mollie Huisman and Tim Wyman) who are dealing with the death of their four-year-old son, Danny. The boy ran after his dog into the street and was struck and killed by a young teenage driver, Jason, played by Tadd Maddalozzo.

Other characters are Becca's newly-pregnant sister Izzy (Katherine Marchetta) and Becca's and Izzy's mother, Nat, played by Connie Sinn. This play is filled with complicated emotions and interactions. Becca and Howie deal with their grief as Becca also deals with the news of her sister's pregnancy, coming so soon after the loss of her own child. We also learn that Becca shares with her own mother the loss of a son, one an innocent 4 year-old; the other a 30 year-old heroin addict who has taken his own life.

A play of this emotional intensity demands a high level of skill and engagement on the part of the actors, and this troupe very nearly delivers. While Tadd Maddalozzo's Jason is decidedly one-dimensional, the others turn in admirable performances. Kathryn Marchetta's Izzy is especially convincing, and Connie Sinn comes through in her delivery of what is perhaps the most important dialogue of the play, an explanation of the grieving process and how its internalization is necessary for survival.

In the end, the performance hits shy of its mark. Perhaps it is the fault of the direction or perhaps this is simply too complex a play to tackle at a local level. However, I am grateful for my first exposure to this exceptionally written piece and I will look forward to seeing it again someday in a professional venue.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The End of Western Civilization

By now everyone is familiar with the phenomenon of "The Snuggie". The apparel of choice for couch potatoes everywhere is part blanket and part straitjacket.

Originally offered in only two colors, the manufacturer gradually expanded the palette. Eventually they were offered in jungle prints, perfect for those more formal nights on the sofa.

Then, just in time for the Holiday shopping season, Snuggies were introduced for children and even for the family pet!

But brace yourself....the Snuggie era has come to an end!
The latest and greatest innovation in sloth couture is:


According to the ad copy these are

"Pajamas you live in. Jeans you sleep in."

There is no more need for that pesky and time consuming change of clothes or needless morning shower.
Now, one can simply roll out of bed and head right on down to the Wal-Mart!

Such convenience!

And one more sign of the coming apocalypse.