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April 06, 1985 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-04-06

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The Michigan Daily Saturday, April 6, 1985 Page 5


By Pete Williams

PERATIC VOICES, balletic dan-
cing, simple and honest plot struc-
ture, nothing left to the imagination. In
a performance based on symmetry of
movement and harmony of sound, like
H.M.S. Pinafore, it is difficult to
discover any higher meaning or
revealing irony; that is not the point of
such a performance. In this, like any
other Gilbert and Sullivan creation, the
stage is merely a forum for the artists'
convention. The audience knows the
plot, fully comprehends the tran-
sparency of the characters, and comes
'to be entertained. They laugh at the
simplistic and nearly slapstick humor.
They listen carefully to the silly songs
given legitimacy by the powerful
resonance and range of well selected
It is just plain fun for members of the
audience. Nothing to think about, just
honest, relaxing, and even nostalgic en-
joyment-mind candy. A contemporary
example would have to be the vanguard
of late-night entertainment, The Love
Boat. In fact, the two attractions are
frighteningly similar.
For a Love Boat episode to be suc-
cessful, three goals must be achieved
by the director, the writers, and the
First, the plot(s) must be fabricated
upon a foundation of transparent, yet
flexible, plastic. Pity the artist who at-
tempts to make his audience think, for
he or she will soon be unemployed. The
story line must be garnished with the
fashions and popular ideas of the

times, eg. circa 1970s Lo
showed us polyester and dilei
volving lost contact lenses. Th
'80s bring us Yups falling ir
business trips, a more autt
role for Captain Stubing,
resurrected styles of the 1
Second, a successful epis4
contain a dull and overwhelms
confrontational moral. The
always the same, Love Conc
but the artist has a largec
freedom as to how it is develo
moral must be largely n
throughout the performance,
show up at the end-usual]
paternal words of our b
distinguished, captain.
The last requirement is the
portant. Everyone short of t
crew must fall in love an
all-get married within the ti
This requirement, along
previous two, was met by th
sity of Michigan Gilbert and
Society's production of
Pinafore. The moral of the sto
Love Conquers All, had the
British society to cross.
daughter of a ship's cap
disputably a member of th
class, fall in love with a
crewman? Can the lovers find
to sing their powerful mad
love songs without interfering
development of the story?C
they can. That is the simple1
H.M.S. Pinafore.
Of course, under most circu
the comparison of this
production to the Love Boat

floats on
ve Boats enough to make even the most casual
mmas in- Gilbert and Sullivan enthusiast turn red
ose of the with anger, but these people need only
n love on look at themselves to understand the
horitative similarity.
and the The Love Boat is currently involved
920s and in a season of characteristically high
ratings. Repeats can be seen nightly,
ode must back-to-back, starting at 11:30 p.m. The
ngly non- fact is, a public seeking no more than
thesis is mindless convention has kept the
juers All, pathetic excuse for a series afloat for
degree of god-knows-how-many-years. Now to
ped. This the Pinafore. The University has an ac-
eglected tive society devoted exclusively to
and then Gilbert and Sullivan. Contributors,
ly in the spectators, and participants have kept
ald, yet this type of entertainment alive longer
than the TV generation has supported
most im- The Love Boat-considerably longer.
he. ship's The audience is an interesting
id-above phenomenon. in itself. At the outset of
ime allot- the second act the audience clapped
along with the boisterous trio, "Never
with the mind the why and wherefore," as if on
e Univer- cue, with the enthusiasm of Barry
I Sullivan Manilow groupies. Like Manilowites, I
H.M.S. got the impression that everyone in the
ry, again, audience except for me had seen this
hurdle of performance before, and that prior to
Could a the show, they had all spent an hour at
tain, in- the hi-fi listening to the-album.
e middle Unlike a Manilow concert, however, a
common H.M.S. Pinafore was a spectacular s
I occasion show. The orchestra was flawless.
e-to-order Each principal had an ability to sieze ov
g with the the stage and the audience's attention toc
Of course for an occasional solo. The varying T
beauty of degrees of dancing talent and technique con
displayed by members of the chorus ter
imstances was somewhat annoying in a perfor- pe
complete mance based on symmetry of isd
would be movement and harmony of sound, but thi

'Love Boat' ideals

The cast of 'H.M.S. Pinafore' is pictured here giving their final salute. 'Cruise director' Julie Tanguay and the Gilbert
and Sullivan Society are to be complemented on their strikingly unassuming and relaxing entertaining production. The
show continues today, tomorrow, and April 11-13 at Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre.

erall this performance was difficult
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society will
ntinue to produce high-priced and en-
taining shows as long as there are
ople who need reassurance that there
design and simplicity to life. And on
s premise, I can never see the society

closing its doors. Every now and then,
people need to see a distraught lover
break into song-accompanied by a full
orchestra, An audience will always
welcome the chance to see a male dan-
cer feign an anatomical reaction to a
woman's peck on the cheek.
What's wrong with that? Plenty, but

that's not the point.
H.M.S. Pinafore will be staged today
at the Power Center at 2 and 8 p.m.
Sunday's performance begins at 3 p.m.
Performance contir aes April 11-13,
with shows starting at 8 p.m. and a
matinee on the 13th at 2p.m.

Itals' reggae fine and

By Hobey Echlin
THE U-BALLROOM was the sight of the
finest in contemporary Jamaican
reggae Thursday night. An all star
lineup featuring the Roots Radics
backing Don Carlos and the headlining
Itals proved that in this age of UB40 and
Black Market, the roots will always
dominate. Or so it would seem.
The -Roots Radics opened the show
with their own set. The Radics,
Jamaica's most sought-after studio
band, proved that though they are
usually backing up the legends, they
can hold Rasta-court with the best of
them. The sound was superb, from the
thudding kick-drum to the chinking
guitar chords. The Radic's only draw-
back was Flubba Holt's insistence on
using a headless Steinberger bass, a
popular funk instrument, that provided
at best a fuzzy haze in what should have
been a much richer and thicker sound.
Stick to the Fender Precision, Flub.
I guess this is going to get a wee bit
cynical, but Flubba's bass was sort of
an indication that the roots spirit may
still be there, but it is being lost in the
true sound of Reggae. UB40 never had
it, so it's OK if they use a gimmick or
two; they need all the help they can get.
But from the masters? I guess after fif-

teen years you pretty much have to go
for the new.
With the Radics as his back-up, a
surprisingly fashionable Don Carlos
took to the stage after the Radics pre-
set. Carlos, an original Black Uhuru
member, captivated the audience with
his repeated chantings of "Jah
Rastafari" and dramatic swinging of
his mane of dread-locks. A superb
vocalist, his upbeat set provided a per-
fect opener for the Itals. The only thing
that irritated me about Carlos was his
unusually dapper appearance. I'm not
asking the man to wear a friggin' loin
cloth, but the man's a musician, not a
model. And besides, how can you take a
man yelling thanks and praise to God
all over the place seriously when he
looks like an amply-hormoned Michael
Jackson. While Flubbz's getting his new
Steinberger, Don can pick up a G.Q.
subscription. But again, I'm no cynic
(maybe), and after all, you tend to get
away from your roots image after a lit-
tle success and a whole lot of years in
the business.
After a brief intermission, the
Ballroom was again smelling like a
ganja-torium and the Itals were on the
stage. Looking a bit like a cross bet-
ween Rastafarians and the Jetsons in
their Spinners-ish suits, the Itals broke
into song, again with the Radics
backing. Drawing heavily from Give

Me Power and the earlier Brutal Out
Deh (which front Ital Keith Porter
pronounced with a grace and clarity
this language craves), the Itals proved
that their three-vocalist lineup is
definitely one of the most refreshing
contributions made to reggae in a long
time. Lloyd Rickett's and Ronnie
Brooks' swooning, choir-like backing
vocals emphasized the religious
element of their music. An impromptu
rendition of "Ain't Too Proud To Beg"
proved to be a crowd pleaser though a
bit too commercial and Yuppy-pleasing

for my taste. Gee guys, Big Chill cash-
But overall the Itals' two sets were
very good in their own vocals-
dominating ensemble style. Porter's
Marleyish voice has that harsh, rootsy
tone that sounds weed-racked but
honest, that was a definite highlight of
the show.
So overall the show was impressive,
but a bit flashy. But when you've been
rubbing shoulders with Marley, Tosh,
Isaacs; etc. since 1972, I guess it just
comes with the territory.

Daily Photo by DAN HABIB

Itals' frontman Keith Porter, dreadocks aflight, put on a fine performance at
the U-Ballroom.

Civilian Fun Group-Fighting
All Who Rob and Plunder
(EQMC Records)
Fighting All Who Rob and Plunder is
an entertaining, if somewhat uneven
record. The Civilian Fun Group has
made an effort to rein in their typically
brash and gung-ho style in deference to
the medium, and they achieve some
degree of success. At its best, the
record provides clean and spirited ren-
ditions of CFG standards, but the em-
phasis on musicality strips vitality
from the band at times.
Side One gets off to a terrific start
with lead singer Lawrence Kent's
dramatic intonation of what's wrong
with the world (Greed is the most ob-
vious form of underdevelopment...),
punctuated by a hellish scream. "The
Bank is Closed," the story of an
economic collapse is rendered with for-
ce. Jake London's guitar chops through
Nick Griffin's bass line. Kent's vocals
possess the same hell-bent quality they
do in live performance.
The same cannot be said for the next
cut, "Mary Magdelene." The opening
guitar lick is muted, the back-up vocals
are restrained; the whole song sounds
muffled. "Mary Magdelene" is
probably one of the band's best songs,
but this recording of it lacks the charac-
teristic cutting edge. The listener wants
to speed it up, or turn it up, or bring out
the treble, especially for John Shaw's
harmonica solo, which should scream.

Instead it moans a bit. I'd like to hear a
different mix.
The lost energy is recouped on "Mrs.
Dunn." There is a terrific density to
this recording, plus a healthy doseof
spirit. The guitar work is terrific, and
again the vocals have that mocking,
feisty quality that Kent is capable of.
Side Two opens with a fair rendition
of "Solamente Quiero Armas," a south-
of-the-border type tune. Pieces of this
song are terrific, like Griffin's
Mexican-peasait second lead, and the
scattered superfluous Speedy Gonzales-
style hoots and chirps, but the song
moves slowly, and Kent seems
strained. Also, the a capella openings
that usually are the highlight of the
song sound thin and slightly off-key.
Again, the production could be pun-
chier, but the performance should be
The EP closer, "Pleasure Dog," is a
winner. Everything falls into place. The
production is excellent, the performan-
ce is terrific, and the song itself is cer-
tainly one of the band's best.
This record is a swell value for three
dollars. The cover is an extension of
Kent's recent posters, featuring op-
pression, religion, and a sad Santa. The
back cover features some nifty photos,
especially the one of Shaw playing his
guitar while he is upside-down. It's a
good first effort, worthy of your money
and ear.

Film, Video, and RC 236 will be taught in Fall 1985
by Professor Hubert Cohen and is being offered on
TUESDAY and THURSDAY, 12:00 -1:30
with Discussion Sections on Friday afternoon.
See LSA Course Guide and updated CRISP listings
┬░for more information.
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