The Gondoliers, or the King of Barataria at the Agassiz Theater, tonight and May 2-5, 8:30 p.m.
OF THIS NEW Gondoliers you needn't be chary It's colorful, vibrant--it's splendid! Among G&S revivals, Gondoliers has no rivals; This production is bright and well-rendered.
It's set by Stu Sundlun--of Venice, not London--'s a marvel in Agassiz's smallness: Painted under directive of one point perspective The floor makes the stage look tremendous.
The populace of this republican Venice Boasts costumes by Mary Aiello. For her attention inordinate to color coordinate Of satins and shoddy, a halo.
Re: Jay Perry's direction I have to suspect him of parodying parody excessively. Don Alhambra as Dracula is the wrong tack--though you'll a-Gree that some tricks work successfully.
Chorus characters actively illustrate lyrics To bar songs from becoming drab These skits are quintesscent and quite reminiscent Of those tiny warped drawings of Bab.
The bather's short mime is a joy at a time When the overture's tortured by strings and winds. (The orchestra's bigger than most, but I figure Size does not excuse imprecision.)
The chorus's the strongest I've heard and the throng has--Oh rapture!--distinct personalities! When alone chorus women can carry the beginnin' You can say a show's good with finality.
The usual mismatch of babies and lovers Characterizes the plot. One of two gondolieri--in the first act both marry--Gondolier he allegedly is not.
The Inquisitor Alhambra proclaims very somberly That one is king of Barataria. Until it's resolved who is king and who common Both men are to rule in that area.
But problems arise since part of the prize Of being king is the hand of a lady. Since they're already wed and she's otherwise pledged The confusion is transiently weighty.
Gondolieri Tom Fuller and Paul David Seltzer One tenor, the other a baritone Rule lovelorn maidens and the Baratarian state in Flattering and resonant fair tones.
(Their comic expressions are worth a digression--Or two if you have got the time for it: For a laugh they will goggle or grimace or ogle The girls or they will pantomime for it.)
Darcy Pulliam's Tessa and Kathryn Karrassik's Gianetta Are full-voiced and saucy young wives. Pulliam handles each line with a timing that's fine, Dropping each so the greatest mirth thrives.
Of no less distinction is that strange collection--The Duke of Plaza-Toro and his suite. As the hen-pecked grandee, Bill Fuller keeps dignity; Judith Steinberg's duchess dowdiness is meet.
As their daughter, Ruth Harcovitz fits the description Of Most Beautiful Woman in Spain. Her voice is quite charming, her screeches alarming--Of her eye-rolling, though, I complain.
And praises too hover for Pete Kellogg, her lover--His voice is clear and unaffected. And for bass David Bradley, who plays somewhat madly Don Alhambra del Bolero, as directed.
With fine acting and voices, brisk pace, Gondoliers will delight all psychologies. And for the lines above traced, To W.S. Gilbert, apologies.