Imagine, if you will, for one heart-stopping moment a production of The Yeomen of the Guard that included Doris Day as Phoebe Meryll, Joey Bishop as Jack Point, Jerry Lewis as Wilfrid Shadbolt, and a Colonel Fairfax whose singing voice is an engaging blend of Richard Dyer-Bennett and Rudy Vallee; and having in this manner proved yourself capable of the requisite amount of mental contortion, return with the now to consider briefly a new production of the Yeomen by the Harvard Gilbert and Sullivan Players that I and others sat through last night
Mr. Kenneth Tigar, whose comic talents I have always held in great respect, has directed this new Yeomen, and I suppose I must reluctantly assume that he is therefore the man responsible for its quips and cranks. Mr. Tigar, if he is indeed the man responsible, has got Gilbert and Sullivan all wrong. What little magic there is in any G & S show, you see, comes in the best of its songs, which--like the madrigals and the ballads--are at once both charming pieces of music and very gentle spoofs of themselves. The rest of the show, however--the jokes, the patter, the thundering choruses--is so much dross: dull, dated, tiresome stuff. Unfortunately, Mr. Tigar, or whoever, seems to find the dross screamingly funny, and the music rather second-rate. Consequently, he has built up an unmusical and ungainly case which closely resembles the staggerer I posed to you a while back, and he has stuffed the poor Yeomen as chock full of yoks, boffs, and sundry other howl-makers as a year's supply of DesiLu half-hour shows.
Two people try to check Mr. Tigar's madness. They are miss Mary Lou Sullivan (Elsie Maynard), who has a faultless voice, and who seams to like what she is singing, and Mr. Terrence Currier, the Colonel Fairfax already alluded to, whose effortless and unexaggerated performance must make him feel very out of place.
But to no avail. The gray old Tower of London has become a Chamber of Horrors, and this merryman has been rendered moping mum.
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