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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Tonight at 8:30, Part II, Come the Wild
J. D. Cullum and Gigi Bermingham in the performance viewed were suave and feisty as the Peppers with Philip Proctor as the malicious Musical Director who plays so fast they fall all over themselves, Robert Pine as pompous inept theater manager Mr. Edwards and Angela Paton in a delicious turn as Mabel, a West End prima donna gone blowsy. The singing, under Stefan Novinski's nimble direction, evokes shades of Jimmy Cagney and will ring a bell with theatre artists in any era.
The Gows' house in Fumed Oak is inspired by Coward's own middle-class low-rent childhood. Robert Goldsby finds the anger and humor in this wretched family, including Josh Clark who scales a delighted character arc from henpecked husband to the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. Others in the cast include Laura Wernette as his bitter wife; Emily Eiden as obnoxious daughter Elsie, a wonderful gawky presence whose rage sometimes seems a tad over the top for the period; and Angela Paton, as Elsie's grandmother Mrs.Rockett who ranges with wild-eyed comic élan from doting grandmother to a woman determined to get her own way.
Still Life, immortalized on screen as >Brief Encounter, has a poignance that makes it still resonate Two strangers meet in a train station, Dr. Alec Harvey, played with warmth and dignity by Mirron Willis and Laura Jesson, a quiet housewife, played by Shannon Holt in a heart-felt performance that sometimes shades into the shrill. Although both are married with children they discover each has met the love of his/her life. The lovers' are mirrored by two other romances, middle-aged restaurant manager Myrtle (Anne Gee Byrd) and Station Master Albert (Josh Clark) as well as young working-class waitress Beryl (Angela Goethals) with shopboy Stanley (Ramon DeOcampo). They add welcome comic relief to the tragedy of the couple they call Romeo and Juliet. Stephanie Shroyer directs.
Family Album, in which a family gathers after the death of a patriarch to compare notes and reminisce, is the evening's slightest effort. Director Brendon Fox has plumped it up with some of Coward's beloved songs, ending with "Sail Away," which, with the skilled cast, give it a charm it never had. Matthew Goldsby provides the skilled musical accompaniment. John Iacovelli's sets and A. Jeffrey Schoenberg's costumes are true to the period, colorful and dramatic.
To read the review of Part I go here.
Easy-on-the budget super gift for yourself and your musical loving friends. Tons of gorgeous pictures.
Leonard Maltin's 2007 Movie Guide