Theater Feb 24, 2011 at 4:00 am

One Review and Two Short Previews

With all the edge of a butter knife. John Ulman


A couple of things here...

Which translation was used? There have been at least five English-language translations of the Brecht text. Only geeks like me would care, but geeks like me are the core audience for Brecht/Weill.

How long did you last? One act? Two?
You really needed to stay through Act Two to hear Gina Marie Russell belt out a solo and a duet. She is why no glass is allowed inside the Intiman.
I think the translation used was by Mark Blitzstein.

For me, the first act had too many songs with too little plot movement, but the main problem was the casting of Mack was off. The actor playing him has done admirable work in some other roles, but here, while his Mack was charming and debonaire, he lacked even a hint of danger, as though he was actually performing in The Importance of Being Earnest. So that when everyone onstage is continually talking about how dangerous this guy is, it doesn't add up. See the 1932 film version and you can see what a dangerous Mack might be like. It's not an easy combination to pull off and it didn't work in this production.
Disappointed at the choice of translation. Blitzstein eviscerated the beating heart of Brecht's biting commentary and replaced it with 1950's watered-down treacle. Very poor choice.

From what I saw of the Wednesday preview, all the women were terrific, but the lead men were tepid. Act 1 was boring; Act 2 was better (the women finally got to shine a bit) but no one seemed to have a lick of direction, and there were absolutely no stakes. I left before Act 3: as Brendan says elsewhere, theater-goers aren't hostages. I ducked into a free show at the Vera Project and watched some kids put everything they had into making some very loud music with passion and maybe even a bit of danger.

I guess for some good Weimar Republic/ Kurt Weill music, I'll have to wait for the next 'Love Markets' show.
Brendan Kiley is my hero - he's the only good theatre critic in Seattle. He is EXACTLY right with his review of this show. I also left early, during the second intermission, because I just couldn't take it anymore. This production was poorly directed and poorly musically directed. All of the actors hired, except for Jayne Muirhead and Julie Briskman, were woefully unqualified for the task of performing the style of the piece as well as singing the difficult music. Especially bad were the two younger women who were screechy and Mack who was just dull. The production was completely AMATEURISH.
The Love Markets will bring passion and danger to the new Can Can on Wednesday, March 2.
Someone let Stephanie Shine direct again?
Could somebody please stop Stephanie Shine before she wipes her ass with another good play?
This has to stop.

Hey Stranger: Is Brendan Kiley really the best theatre critic you can come up with? REALLY? He comes to shows intoxicated, leaves early and writes reviews that are more gossip column than ACTUAL REVIEWS.

(Not that a gossip column wouldn't be welcome. You could have broken the Intiman embezzlement story months ago.)

In Seattle there are hundreds of professional theatre artists, thousands of amateur ones, and tens of thousands of theatre-goers. We are crying out for a critic who isn't incompetent (Misha) or catty or bitter or stupid. We want someone to intelligently review the plays we are in and the plays we see; Someone to help us find out what's good, what's bad and what's trying too hard. Only then can Seattle's theatre scene reach above labels like 'Regional' or 'Fringe.'

We need someone to start an intelligent discussion about theatre in Seattle.

Step up, Stranger.
It might be interesting for you to see the performance of another famous Brecht play, "The Caucasian Chalk Circle" at the Jones Playhouse. All original music by James Jewell and directed by Alyson Roux. They have taken it in an apocalyptic hillbilly direction that is, in my opinion, just absurd enough to work.

Jones Playhouse - 4045 University Way NE. Seattle
Here is the schedule:
Sunday, February 27, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Tuesday, March 01, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Thursday, March 03, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Friday, March 04, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 05, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 06, 2011 at 2:00 PM
Wednesday, March 09, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Friday, March 11, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 7:30 PM
Sunday, March 13, 2011 at 2:00 PM
what's with all the fucking spam self advertising in comments? Get some class people.
Sadly, they used the Blitzstein translation. While Blitzstein deserves credit for bringing Brecht's work to the attention of American audiences in the chilly Red Scare 1950s, he basically did so by turning edgy 1920s Weimar cabaret into an acceptable mid-century Broadway musical. Almost all of the sexuality is suppressed, and a good bit of the violence (no arson killing 7 children in Soho, no abortion in Mack & Jenny's past, etc.)

It's a pretty candy-assed translation of the "Threepenny Opera" to be presenting on a Seattle stage in 2011.
I have to second EmilySavesThe Day. I haven't peeked at reviews on here in a long time, and now I remember why. This isn't a review: it's self-congratulatory arrogance.

Get a genuine theatre critic who can manage to stay for the entirety of the performance and maybe it will be worth reading the theatre page again. Whatever amateurishness there was in the production is surely matched - if not exceeded - by the amateurishness of this 'review'. Childish in the extreme.
"A note to artistic directors of a certain age: ... you would do much better for your theaters by shoving a cut of your paycheck toward a younger director who has a leaner mind and a sharper knife." Now that is an annoying statement (as well as ageist.

Please wait...

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