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A CurtainUp Review
Cupid and Psyche
By Eunice Marquet
After hundreds of years of devoted worship, the mortals' loyalty to the gods has begun to wane. No god or goddess is more insulted by this indifference than Venus. Following poor turnout at three of her Gods Day festivities, she finally finds a celebration worthy of her. However instead of singing the praises of the Love Goddess, the crowds are worshiping the beautiful Illyrian princess Psyche. Vowing vengeance, Venus decides to punish the Illyrian people for their betrayal, especially the object of their affection. After all, as Venus says "goddesses don't like competition." The offended deity sends her teenaged son Cupid to torment the Illyrian people with his love arrows but while carrying out his mission, he meets and falls in love with the comely princess.
Sean Harley has created some vivid and enchanting characters. His lyrics and Jihwan Kim's music, are upbeat and fun. The excellent four-person ensemble improves the script. Laura Marie Duncan is resplendent as the sassy and tempestuous Venus who struggles to overcome her vanity to become a good mother. Barrett Foa is endearing as the fun-loving Cupid and from the moment he walks on stage, you can't help but notice the strong resemblance to William Katt in his Pippin days. Deborah Lew brings a headstrong quality to the role of Psyche, the girl who must face Hades to prove her love. Rounding out the cast is Logan Lipton who portrays Cupid's buddy Mercury and is brought along by Venus to "play the smaller parts." Lipton's effectiveness and versatility proves the old adage that there is no such thing as a small part.
Set Designer David Swayze was faced with the challenge of creating Mount Olympus on a 10 x 10 stage. His valiant attempt looks more like a cozy café at the foot of the godly peak, yet, given the small space, the simple set is impressive. Choreographer Devanand Janki is less successful in maneuvering the actors around the confining area.
The John Houseman Studio is notorious for the lighting problems that plague its productions and Cupid and Psyche is no exception. Unfazed by the flickering and flashing lights at one point Venus herself turned to the audience and asked, "What is that another black out? How can you people live here?" The Imagination Company's plans to move the show to a larger theatre which would infinitely benefit this lovely little production that makes you leave the theatre smiling.
Mendes at the Donmar
At This Theater
Leonard Maltin's 2003 Movie and Video Guide
Ridiculous!The Theatrical Life & Times of Charles Ludlam
Somewhere For Me, a Biography of Richard Rodgers
The New York Times Book of Broadway: On the Aisle for the Unforgettable Plays of the Last Century
6, 500 Comparative Phrases including 800 Shakespearean Metaphors by CurtainUp's editor.
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