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|A CurtainUp Review
By Eunice Marquet
With the young mariner Ishmael to narrate, we follow the ill-fated whaling crew of the Pequod on their final, fateful voyage. After a lifetime of whaling, this marks the first commission for Captain, Ahab since he lost his leg in an attack by the mythical white whale known as Moby Dick. The loss of his limb has left Ahab with an all-consuming passion for vengeance. His obsessive determination to bring down the white whale turns this once respected leader into a raving madman who will stop at nothing to exact his retribution, including the willingness to risk the lives of his crew.
Traditional seafaring songs that are beautifully sung by the eight-man cast are woven throughout the story. While these songs are the most effective element of the production, at times they distract from the story itself. Christopher Kelly, who plays Ishmael, routinely resorts to yelling his monologues in order to be heard over the chorus.
Michael Berry's strong and confident portrayal of Starbuck, the First Mate is poignant and likeable. Christopher Kelly embodies the fresh and eager spirit of Ishmael. Playwright Julian Rad gives a somewhat inconsistent performance as the Native American harpooner Queequeg. William Metzo's performance as the legendary Captain Ahab should stand out but is disappointing. At times he seemed to be searching for his lines and it appears his boisterous overtures are just compensating for his lack of passion.
The prevailing problem with this Moby Dick is that it lacks blood and guts. A play that takes its characters around the world in a quest to satiate a blood lust, needs a more powerful buildup towards its climax. As directed by Hillary Adams, Moby Dick hints at the rumblings of obsession, but fails to rise to the drama of its tragic conclusion.
Any adaptation of such a well-known work of literature entails a lot of expectations. These remain unfortunately unmet by this production.
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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