Saturday, May 16, 2009

Annie (The SOB Review)

Annie (The SOB Review) – Providence Performing Arts Center, Providence, Rhode Island

* (out of ****)

Leapin' lizards, what a dog.

Regular readers will know that in my appreciation for live theatre, I cut my teeth on the original Broadway production of Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse’s Annie when I saw the London mounting way back in 1979.

I was charmed by virtually every aspect of the show, beginning with Martin Charnin and Charles Strouse's winning score and Thomas Meehan's lighthearted, whimsical books (with auspicious beginnings for Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal) right through the nuanced, winning performances by Stratford Johns and Sheila Hancock, and ultimately to all the magical design elements, particularly David Mitchell's intricate set.

Flash forward to the current touring production of Annie, and it’s a pale imitation of that original show. Bet your bottom dollar, because it looks that cheap.

Sure, the story and score still hold up -- in fact, given the current state of the economy, they resonate brilliantly -- but strip away practically every last nuance from the lackluster performances and the glorious design elements that wowed me thirty years ago, and it all comes down to what this Annie amounts to.

To put it simply, it’s a scrim. No, not a scream, but one scrim after another after another, nearly devoid of most actual scenic design. It looks as cheap as it is bad. There's absolutely no magic. No wonder this revival falls so flat.

I’m truly grateful to Gratuitous Violins for taking me as her guest, but at the risk of sounding like an ingrate, I’d like to scratch what I had to say about Guys And Dolls. This warmed-over Annie marks the worst, most disappointing musical revival I’ve seen over the past year.

It’s a hard knock, but someday, if not tomorrow, a dazzling revival worthy of the exceptional core show will come knocking.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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At 16 May, 2009, Blogger Esther said...

I'm sorry. :-(

At 16 May, 2009, Blogger Dale said...

That really sucks!

At 16 May, 2009, Anonymous Anonymous said...

erik says..

I hate Annie.


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