Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Guys And Dolls (The SOB Review)

Guys And Dolls (The SOB Review) – Nederlan-der Theatre, New York, New York

*1/2 (out of ****)

Don't believe for a minute the prevailing theory out there that no new revival of Frank Loesser's beloved Guys And Dolls could ever top Broadway’s celebrated 1992 incarnation. Unfortunately, that superior sexy mounting from Michael Grandage in London never materialized stateside as planned.

Instead, we're stuck with Des McAnuff’s impossibly dull and benign production of the classic story of how gambling loses to love around the fringes of the Great White Way. What particularly depressed me was how this revival falls flatter than the giant screen capturing Dustin O'Neill's frequently more captivating projection design.

Any production in which Nathan Detroit (an ineffectual Oliver Platt) becomes a tertiary character -- not only competing here with Tituss Burgess' 11th hour heights as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, but also a Damon Runyonesque character essentially aping “Where’s Waldo” -- proves that even this gem of a show can be completely misdirected.

Fortunately, there’s no mistaking Loesser’s glorious score or Mary Testa's trademark brilliance (albeit in cameo form) as General Cartwright. Small consolation for one of the worst musical revivals I’ve ever seen (and full disclosure: Guys And Dolls is my all-time second favorite tuner.).

Oh well.

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

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