Thursday, July 24, 2008

Theatre Under the Stars reviews

My review of TUTS appears in this week's WestEnder. Pick up a copy if you get the chance!

TUTS review
By Andrea Warner

TUTS 62nd season offers Jesus Christ Superstar and Annie Get Your Gun, two distinct choices for fans of musical theatre: a 70s-infused rock opera from Andrew Lloyd Webber versus the lovely old fashioned songs of Irving Berlin, with good ol’ day themes of sexism and racism.

Annie Get Your Gun, while certainly not flawless, makes a winner out of its star Meghan Anderssen. Though she’s been encouraged to dial up the “Gosh darn, har har” backwoods aspects to her Annie Oakley character (there are enough snorting laughs to think the character was directly influenced by Chrissy Snow from television’s Three’s Company), eventually she settles into a nice balance between fierce tomboy and charming young woman. It helps that Anderssen’s voice is powerful and that her solos captivate. The huge dance numbers are nicely choreographed and offer a charming reminder of great musicals past.

Jesus Christ Superstar makes martyrs out of its unsuspecting audience. From start to finish the young cast is certainly energetic, but under Gillian Barber’s direction her main male leads confuse crescendo with crash and burn. Adam Charles’ Judas screams and shrieks his way through almost every number, stripping away every ounce of sympathy the character is supposed to have. Mat Baker’s Jesus has all the charisma of a wooden Gap model. And, the choreography by Troy McLaughlin seems to have very little to do with the actual lyrics of the songs. The crucifixion couldn’t come fast enough.

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