Monday, September 28, 2015

SHOWS NOT TO BE MISSED Beverly Creasey Shows I didn’t attend as a Reviewer but am moved to say something about

Scott Edmiston’s lovely, light, fresh and inspired MY FAIR LADY for Lyric Stage amazes with Catherine Stornetta’s three piece orchestra and Edmiston’s delightful humorous touches (not to worry, they’re so sweetly comic purists wouldn’t mind). I adore laughing in places where I never saw the humor before (like Pickering’s pacing while calling out Higgins for it). Christopher Chew sings the score: A revelation to discover the actual tunes! Jennifer Ellis is a charmer… And David Connolly’s choreography, especially for J. T. Turner and company, is sheer joy.

The Poet’s Theatre is back in fine form with BECKETT WOMEN: Ceremonies of Departure. It’s not easy staging Beckett (for his enigmatic dialogue, to say nothing of Beckett’s insistence on no sets and no context). Director Robert Scanlon, set designer David R. Gammons and lighting designer Jeffrey Adelberg have indeed invented an ingenious context for these (mostly) monologues. Beckett has passed on and one hopes he doesn’t fret about such matters anymore. Each is being filmed by the Grim Reaper who kindly offers a hand now and again if one of the women has to climb up on a riser. What’s extraordinary about each actress is that she can create subtext for the words which don’t string together to form any obvious intent… and she can do this without inflection. It may seem on the surface that Beckett’s words (delivered in almost a monotone) have no obvious meaning but “Little girl” and “She” floods us with our own memories about being a little girl picking berries. We supply the meaning. We supply the emotions. We’re the little girl in Amanda Gamm’s monologue. Then we’re the beleaguered caretaker in Sarah Newhouse’s dialogue with her aging mother. Then we’ve grown old and we imagine our own death in Carmel O’Reilly’s heartbreaking departure. Lovely work all around!

My apologies if I have misnamed anyone. They ran out of programs at my performance.

North Shore Music Theatre’s BILLY ELLIOT is a rousing tribute to the miners in Great Britain who stood up to Margaret Thatcher in the ‘80s. (You may remember on this side of the pond when Thatcher’s buddy, President Reagan broke the back of the air controllers’ unionbut there’s no musical about that.) The musical is fiercely political, hilariously funny and sweetly sentimental at the same time. Based on the movie by the same writer, Billy (Brooks Landegger and Nicholas Dantes share the role) is an eleven year old son of a Newcastle miner who discovers happiness when he’s thrown into a dance class by mistake. Boston actress Sarah deLima lifts the humor to sublime heartache as the boy’s grandma (who passes her love of dancing to Billy in her DNA, something I never realized before this production). Lee Hall and Elton John’s valentine to working class heroes gets a crackerjack outing at NSMT. Don’t miss it.