G & S brigade captivates with rip-roaring silliness@ByName:
GILBERT & SULLIVAN
Songs by Arthur Sullivan.
by W. S. Gilbert.
and F. C. Burnand.
MIT Gilbert & Sullivan Players.
Steven McDonald, Music Director.
Marion Leeds Carroll, Stage Director.
Room 6-120, Feb. 9, 10 & 11.
Opera Company of Boston.
Conducted by Sarah Caldwell.
Reviewed Feb. 11.
By JONATHAN RICHMOND
IT'S A SHAME The proceedings began with three art songs by Sullivan, nicely sung by Lisa Ann Kummerow with music director Steven McDonald at the keyboard.
Rosencrantz (David C. Jedlinsky '89) and Guildenstern (Bradley J. Rhodes '92) prevent the anguished Hamlet from completing his soliloquies and the interchange involving the three of them was beautifully timed. Both Jedlinsky and Rhodes drew many laughs. Jedlinsky was the more debonair of the two; but Rhodes, like Ross, knew how to use a facial expression to bring the house down, and was quite his match.
It was a delight to hear lines from Gillian Bidgood W '93 (as Ophelia), a model of clarity. Steve Rapaport nicely drew a picture of the insecurities of King Claudius, and none of the other actors failed to be utterly absorbed in this comedy tightly directed by Marion Leeds Carroll. Carolyn J. Smith '89 and Lawrence Jones supplied some delightful musical interludes on recorder and violin, respectively.
Cox works days as a hatter, Box nights on a newspaper, and the unscrupulous landlord Bouncer rents the same room to both of them, conjecturing that they will never meet. Cox and Box
is about what happens when they do meet.
It was all wonderfully riotous. Michael D. Mendyke '89 sang the role of Cox and had the best voice as well as a keen sense of the (melo)dramatic. But if Hannes Kniew'e wasn't quite his vocal counterpart, the latter's acting was strong, too, and the two in tandem created a wonderful sense of farce.
Thomas Andrews had many nice touches to bring to the part of Sergeant Bouncer, his rhythmical invocations of the glories of military life ("Rattaplan, Rattaplan, I'm a military man") done with particular panache.
This said, members of the orchestra were equally the stars of the show, propelling the operetta along with color and bounce. The winds contributed some especially pleasing sounds, and the brass played with vigor. (I note an especially colorful turn from the trombone of Daniel Peisach '90 during "Rattaplan, Rattaplan.") The strings caught the essence of Sullivan's special wit, which was also encapsulated in the machinations of percussionist Jonathan R. Pasternak '89. To which all one can add is "God Save the Queen," and may there be many more equally splendid MIT G & S Players productions.
THE FEB. 11 SHOWING But Craig, advanced in her career, doesn't come close to looking like the 15-year-old Butterfly, and her stiff stage manner did nothing to help. Yoko Watanabe's sensual portrayal of Butterfly did far more to capture the spirit of the role, and was substantially deeper in human terms.
Rico Serbo did well as Pinkerton, his bel canto
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