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April 18, 1980 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-04-18

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, April 18, 1980-Page 7
'Relapse' a pleasant throwback

i i

By WILLIAM BOLLING
How about a little adultry, some
stolen encounters, closet meetings and
occasional pinch? All are present in
e Relapse (or Virtue in Danger), the
Restoration comedy now playing at the
Power Center.
Written in 1696 by Sir John Vanbrugh,

the play contains the usual formula of
mistaken identities, cheating husbands
and wives, interwoven subplots and
bawdy humor. Despite the standard
ormat-if you've seen one Restoration
comedy you'll know that all the writers
did was change the names to come up
with a new play-the cast manages to

give a spirited freshness to The Relap-
se.
ONE dimension added to the original
script is the inclusion of musical in-
terludes at scene changes. Doctoral
student William Neil composed the
musical bridges and the lyrics are
merely repetitions of the preceding
spoken line. Uninspired and clumsily
executed choreography by Christopher
Flynn and poor singing by the majority
of the cast causes this part to be a
variation which would have been better
left out. Disorganized and boring, the
tuneless diversions make an already
long, but nevertheless delightful play
drag on needlessly.
Director Dick Cermele chose a highly
theatrical approach which works out
quite well. Costumes are hung on pegs
at the sides of the stage and changes
take place in full view of the audience.
This furthers the enjoyment of seeing
the actors slip in and out of different
roles as easily as they switch hats or
coats. It also provides added attention
to the stunning costumes by Diane
Monach. The simple set by Alan
Billings forms a nice functional
background for the showcase of charac-
ters decked out in deliciously excessive
'ribbons, feathers and bows.
The story concerns a young couple
visiting London and each falling for a
separate amour. A subject involves the
marriage of a young man to the girl in-
tended for his foppish brother. Director
Cermele obviously spent much time in
preparing the cast for making the
stilted, precise but witty verse come out
sounding easy and natural.
The Relapse starts rather slowly with
Loveless (Folkert Schmidt) and his
wife Amanda (Rebecca Stucki) con-
templating their love before secretly
planning infidelities. Stucki and Sch-
midt give credible but somewhat
colorless performances. Enter Berin-
this (Elizabeth Jahnke) as a long lost
cousin and the object of Loveless' af-
fections. Jahnke's precise timing and
sultry portrayal certainly make
adultery sound like fun! Worthy
(Richard Pickren) finishes the four-
some as Berinthia's ex-lover and the
pursurer of Amanda. Pickren seems to
fade out of character with each sub-
sequent appearance.
Complicating all this was Guest Ar-
tist Kevin O'Leary as Lord Foppington.
He fancies himself a gift to all women
and always keeps a mirror nearby.
O'Leary gives a funny, polished per-
formance and the script is tailor-made
to his comic ability. He is quite
professional yet interacts well with the
students.
THE SMALLER parts are handled
with great attention to detail in charac-
terization. Too often small parts in
University productions have that this-
is-the-only-person-we-could-get feel.
Not so in The Relapse. The smaller par-
ts, such as servants and clothiers
provide comic relief to the wordier
passages with several of the main
players doubling in these roles. Pat
Garner plays several roles, with each
- one very funny and as distinct as the

various wigs he donned. Jane Kinsey
added real personality to the usually
dull role of a maidservant, although her
incessant giggle soon grew tiresome.
Terry Caza gave a finely tuned, con-
trolled but very amusing performance
as Lord Foppington's younger brother
Tom. He and Susan Titman as Hoyden,
his bride, were a charming duo,
providing energy and vitality to their
youthful roles.

The director had all the players sit on
the steps of the partial thrust stage and
stay actively involved with the
proceedings when not in the specific
scene. The idle actors respond with
hearty laughs and groans according to
the action on stage. This device seems a
bit like the actors are heavily prom-
pting audience response, verbally
holding up "LAUGH" signs. But like
the play itself, it grows better as it went
along. What began as very excessive
ho-ho-ing and tee-hee-ing settled into a
warm ensemble effect.'
The Relapse is long and requires at-
tentive listening to catch much of the
characters' witty repartee. But it gets
progressively jollier and by the third
act, actors and audience alike are
having a very pleasant time witnessing
the ins and outs of these non-virtuous
socialites.

Use Daily
Classifieds

4

Guest Artist Kevin O'Leary strikes an affected pose as the vain Lord Fop-
pington in a scene from Sir John Vanbrugh's comedy 'the Relapse'. Running
through this Sunday, 'The Relapse' is the final Theatre Department produc-
tion of the season.
Brom berg bows out
Continued from page 6

toire of his original swing-jazz-rhythm
and blues tunes. In their closing song,
"What Would Brando Do?", all of the
bandmmembers provided impressive
strumentals on their own, most
notably Mike Blanchard on tenor sax
and Rick Hollander on drums. Carl
Hildebrandt played acoustic base for
the band, Ray Ohls played piano, and
Dick Siegel himself provided lead
vocals and guitar (After their set, Dick
wanted to be sure our readaers knew
that his band's first album, as yet un-
named, is coming out in three weeks. Of
his music, he was at lost for words as
omberg was when asked why he was
Ting to violin-making school. "I don't
know, we play all kinds of music, there
really is no one category; we play jazz
and blues, swing and R and B,
whatever.").
THIS IS FUSION, pure and simple,
the characteristic of both bands who
performed Wednesday night, although
Bromberg's was substantially more

broadly-based. There's less of the folk
musician in Siegel, and, oddly enough,
less of the rocker.
So we may have seen the last of David
Bromberg for awhile (the nation as a
whole has, anyway-Bromberg raised
the possibility of some isolated trips to
the Ark when his courseload allows).
His band, remarkably well-suited to
handling his unorthodox works, will
split up and find work elsewhere (Lin
berg said he'll be off to San Francisco to
investigate the alleged high demand for
trombonists in the Bay Area).
With this in mind, a sad feeling
prevails in reflelcting on this concert,
along with a deep seeded respect for the
integrity of David Bromberg, who has
experienced the achievements of a
dozen musicians, but still is not
satisfied. You can only imagine what
he'll be producing on the day he does
find satisfaction with his work, which,
given his uncompromising amibition,
may not come for eons to come, if ever.

GOES PUNK.
NE V 04 E
,V/TW WA VE I

kk

Gonzomania Strikes Ann Arbor'
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN'S OFFICE OF
MAJOR EVENTS IS PLEASED TO PRESENT.
WANGO-TANGO TOUR'8 0

With Special Guests
ROAD MASTER

,_

FRIDAY,
APRIL18
8:00
CRISLER

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