Lyric Theatre's production of "The Full Monty" was one of the best productions ever; it was lively, engaging and a star in the crown of Lyric's successes through the years.
The women in the cast who had solos were terrific. They combined the necessary vocal strength to belt out their songs as Ethel Merman would have done, and with great diction (Marjorie Macleay as Jeanette didn't manage the diction part). The men sang equally strongly and with clear diction. They danced and acted very well, as did the women.
What was unmistakably present on the stage was an exhilarating mood that infected the entire cast, who in turn infected the audience, so that often you would have thought the whole auditorium was filled with people who spent their time talking dollar bills into g-string. Most of the songs from the score require a certain lustiness of approach, and the music and lyrics were well served by all. There is only one ballad in the show, in the second act, sung by Eric Pressman with the requisite lyricism.
It is amazing that although Lyric has certainly had its share of hits that I never really felt the cast members had he exuberance that poured over the footlights and into the orchestra pit and out into the audience. The orchestra played well for the most part, but I found that the overture and the entr'acte were less coherent and muddled-sounding. as though mud and clay had somehow got into their playing area.
Kudos to all the backstage people and all the people who make Lyric Theatre so successful, and thanks to those underwriters of the show. I am also pleased to know that they have chosen successfully to do this so-called adult show and that they will continue to do more musicals aimed at the adult population. Actually, this was a show that might have been good for older children to have seen simply because it underscored the need for family and friends. The company will be doing "La Cage aux Folles" in the spring of next year.
The Shelburne Players, under the direction of Donald Rowe, have mounted a powerful and ensemble-acting production of J. V. Priestley's resurrected play, "An Inspector Calls". Everything depends upon and flows from the suicide death of a young lonesome girl. A mysterious Inspector arrives on the scene, because he has wanted to meet with family members and to pull out from them the fact that they all cooperated.
The small group of actors worked as a genuine ensemble, so it is very difficult to cite all of their fine points. The really should be enough simply to say that they all handled themselves in a very professional way. They were aided in their success by the beautiful costumes and the delightful set, replete with coffee cups (china) as well as a beautiful drinks cabinet. Rowe has so carefully worked out the placement of the actors on stage that there is no point in time where one loses the sight of the characters speaking or the majority of the other actors listening. Other organizations who must do theater should be coming to see this production and how Rowe has employed his actors to maintain ultimate visibility.
Play runs this week: Nov. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. If you want to see a really fine production of an intriguing play by the Shelburne Players, purchase a ticket and go.
Burlington resident Dan Wolfe observes and critiques the local arts scene for The Eagle. His column appears weekly.