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January 30, 2012

BECKY SHAW - MARVELOUS! CAROL CHANNING - DAZZLES!




Max tries to break it off with Becky. (Brian Robert Burns & Lauren English) Photo: Jessica Palopoli















BECKY SHAW "Effervescent Delight"   

THIS PLAY IS PLENTY FULL OF LIFE. It’s about a suave man who has a few bucks. He also has squeezed fives times as much fun in his life than a greedy banker. Yes, he is sexy and he knows it. We’re talking about Brian here. Brian (Max) is also a sharp talking suave Casanova. And you know what? – you’re gonna be attracted to him!

Then there is the spoiled-rotten Suzanna, who leans on Max (her adopted brother and money manager). Suzanna as always, leans on Max and cries until she gets her way. And her way was to suduce Max into her bed. Well, he is adopted – so it’s not exactly like having sex with a blood relative.

Max talks a lot: Here is one of his smart Alec quips -- "Prostitution, marriage…Same thing” – Max blurts out. And this is probably right…Max sez: “It’s two people coming together because each has something the other wants.” Now let that sink in. You know it’s true.

Suzanna has now married. Her husband, Andrew Porter fixes Max up with a date. Max realizes that Becky is a desperate person. She’s a hanger on. Determined to get rid of creepy Becky – Max dismisses her. He tells her in a coffee shop, that he doesn’t want to see her again. Gee – Max realized fast that Becky is a stalker. She seems to have him trapped.

This play is all about money, class and sex. And ‘hooking’ up is mild in this story. How will Max get out of this fix? Well, you’ll just have to find out near the juicy ending, won’t you?

In the first act Suzanna talks incessantly about her dead father. The opening scene seemed to go on so much about Suzanna – I began to think that we were trapped on a space ship to Mars.

Max’s wit carries this play along as he tries to keep up with Suzanna's vulnerable persona. It’s like she has a breakdown every 15-seconds. Is it because Max and Suzanna are constantly on the verge of an incestuous relationship. Just watching them together panting over each other is enough to set a hotel room on fire.

But here’s the deal. This is a brisk and entertaining dark comedy. Everyone in the play is on the edge of a cliff. You never know who is going to fall off next. Anyone care to Lap Dance?

THE FANTASTIC ACTORS ARE: Brian Robert Burns (Max Garrett) – “Great Acting that is full of depth and wit.” Lee Dolson (Andrew Porter) – he “inspires and delights.” Lauren English (Becky Shaw) – “Breathtaking stirring delight.” Lori Holt (plays Suzanna’s Mother Susan Slater) – She has the bucks and she rules the palace. “Stern, wise and as usual profound” think ‘Downton Abbey’ on PBS – that's Lori Holt.” Liz Sklar (Susanna Slater) - she is “Luminous and Brilliant!”

BILL ENGLISH HAS COME UP WITH ANOTHER MARVELOUS SET! THE DIRECTION BY AMY GLAZER IS NON-STOP VISIONARY!  

NOW PLAYING AT THE SF PLAYHOUSE ON SUTTER STREET NEAR POWELL STREET.   

RATING: FOUR GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!! (highest rating!) -trademarked- 

FOLLOW LEE:  Facebook/Lee Hartgrave 

CAROL CHANNING CAN STILL LIGHT UP A SCREEN  



SPARKLE PLENTY IS CAROL CHANNING.Courtesy Photo from Richard Skipper















CAROL CHANNING: LARGER THAN LIFE DOCUMENTARY

Last year, when I met Channng for an interview she told me a story about how Jackie Kennedy and her children met the “Hello Dolly” star backstage. Were you surprised – I asked? – “Surprised? That’s not the word for it – I almost fell over. It was a complete secret, and one that I will always remember.” And for sure - that’s right – she forgets nothing.

Channing is amazing. She remembers
everything about Show Business -- right down to who the director was in past shows. In the documentary opening at Landmark Theatres this week we get see her is blazing color on the big screen. She’s still glamorous and still dancing around the stage with the help of the dancers in the cast.

In spite of the recent death of her husband Harry, she still has the spunk to keep entertaining. In the Documentary we get to see Channing in all her glory in bright brilliant color. What a joy to see her with all her friends.

Her story begins when she is a child in San Franciso – she fell in love with Harry in High School -- but a change of schools broke it up. Many, Many years later the lovebirds got back together (70 years later). When they started filming the Channing Documentary she was 90 years old. Now Channing at 91 is still performing. Broadway was, and still is her greatest love along with Harry. In the film, she takes a walk down Broadway and ran into a few members of the chorus from the Broadway Musical “Memphis.” Fans recognized her and everyone wanted to touch her.

Sure, Channing had a few films in Hollywood – but even though she was one of the biggest names on the map, Hollywood just didn’t fit for her. Yep, she was definitely a Broadway Babe. After all she starred in more than 5,000 performances of “Hello, Dolly!” – and never ever missed a single performance.

At least now, we have her on film to enjoy her big red-lips and her over the top raspy-voice.

Drag performers love her dearly. Many still dress up like “Dolly” – and wear the outrageous colorful boas. Like the Documentary says – “She is over the Top!” – and we love it.

It’s an extraordinary thrill to see this movie. Channing is Luminous and superb.  Clap your hands for the best Documentary this year.

Now Playing at Landmark Theatres

RATING: FOUR BOXES OF POPCORN (highest rating) – trademarked-
                        

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