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April 3, 2009

ACT A LADY - WAR MUSIC - AIRWAVES EXCHANGE

Lee Hartgrave
Reviews April 3, 2009

ACT A LADY

This farce is set in a small town in 1927 (Middle America). The men of the local Elks Club decide to put on a benefit show. But, not just any kind of show. The benefit in this show is that some of the men will dress as ladies. O.K., so it’s drag – but not just any old drag. It’s 18th-century drag. Think French revolution-era with Marie Antonette, beautiful silks and white makeup.

This play about gender bending (some of the men really get into it, and begin to rethink the role of men) is really a lot of fun most of the time. However, there are too many side plots and the idea of having the characters also have another actor as an Alter Ego adds to the confusion. Without these distractions, “Act” would be a stronger play.

The actors are passionate in their roles, in and out of drag. There is nothing-small town about these talents: Harry Breaux as Miles/Lady Romola/Viscomte Valentino Ufa. Michaela Greeley as Zina, Scarlett Hepworth as Dorothy, Glenn Kiser as True/Countess Roquefort, Laura Morgan as Lorna and Benjamin Pither as Casper/Greta the Maid.

There are some really funny moments in the play like this: “I don’t write songs that hurt God. Only songs that hurt their ears!” Here’s another: “When I need to think about something I find a young person and tickle their virtue.” Loved this one: “You can’t change a fellow with a powder puff!” Oh, I don’t know about that, but there’s lots more great zingers for you to enjoy in the show.

“Act a Lady” is a peculiar entertainment. Sometimes it is just hilarious, but as it goes on the various plots get in the way. Also the Alter Ego things distract. They are not necessary. Everyone goes all out in the acting performances…especially Michaela Greeley who wears riding chaps and snaps a whip at everyone and everything. She reminded me of Gene Tierney in “Leave Her to Heaven”. Benjamin Pither (Casper) gives another career topping performance. He’s sexy as a man and a woman. So, now the audience can have it both ways.

“ACT” is a vibrant, rowdy experience. While it does have a few cracks in the flow of things – all in all, I would say that it would be a sell-out. It’s funny, sexy and romantic – what more could you want?

AT THE NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER.

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-

MINI-REVIEW

WAR MUSIC – BASED ON THE “ILLIAD’ MAY BE BASED ON ONE OF THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD –

But, this version on the A.C.T. stage on Geary Street is one of the most Boring Stories ever told. Adapted and directed by Lillian Groag – it looks epic, but the acting was nothing but shouting at each other. There were too many people on the stage at one time to know who were the Greeks and who were the people of Troy. The costumes certainly didn’t make it clear – they were all pretty much dressed the same.

It’s billed as a modern makeover, but it never reaches the promise of something outstanding and visionary. Quite frankly is seemed like I was watching a High School Pageant. It is supposed to have lots of humor in it, and they did make some attempts at it – but it all fell flat.

In it’s favor was a fascinating set, great lighting and some good choreography. But all in all it never develops or has the impact of Mary Zimmerman’s Argonautica. The actors come with impressive credentials – but nothing seemed to work in this production. My hopes and dreams were that it would fly – but my dreams were dashed. Good try guys! I suggest that you skip it.

RATING: ONE GLASS OF CHAMPAGNE! – trademarked-

AIRWAVES EXCHANGE!!!!

NOW YOU GET STATE-OF-THE-ART SCENE-BY-SCENE INFORMATION FOR THE HEARING AND SIGHT CHALLENGED AND MULTI-LINGUAL COMMENTARY FOR NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING AUDIENCES. It’s now available for all performance of “Wicked” which is in an open-ended engagement at the Orpheum Theatre. This is more than a work-for-work translation. These services give patrons the actual dialogue, as well as continual plot and descriptive information that enable them to follow the action, intention, humor and emotion of the show.

WICKED IS A GREAT SHOW – AND NOW YOU CAN SEE IT AND HEAR IT IN ANY LANGUAGE. SHN has done it again, but improving the Theatre going experience.

AND – DON’T FORGET THE ‘WICKED & GREASE’ CAST IN THE ‘ONE NIGHT ONLY CABARET” ON MONDAY APRIL 13, 7:30 PM, AT THE CLUB FUGAZI. THIS BENEFIT FOR REAF (Help in on the Way) helps many charities with your support. The shows are always terrific with the best talent in the world. Call 415-421-4222 for Tickets.

THIS JUST IN. SHOW BIZ LEGEND PATTY DUKE WILL BE PART OF THE ‘ONE NIGHT ONLY CABARET’. In case you didn’t know, Duke is now Madame Morrible in the Orpheum cast of “Wicked”. Also added will be the cast of the sensational “Burn The Floor”. And believe me – their hot dancing does it! How can you miss this?

COMEDY, GOSSIP, IMPRESSIONS…AND MORE!

THAT’S WHAT YOU GET WITH SCOTT NEVINS IN “RECE$IONI$TA” AT THE RRAZZ ROOM. He has been called “A young, sexy, gay(er) Kathy Griffin”. Show is at 1030 PM, Friday-Sat, April 3 and 4. Fun is good for you! 415-866-468-3399.

AND THAT’S A WRAP!!!!

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