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September 13, 1991 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-09-13

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily-Friday, September 13,1991

If my friends could
only see me now...

i

Sweet Charity
The Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
Wednesday, September 11, 1991
The orchestra blared out the
overture's first sexy, raunchy notes
of "Big Spender" with such energy
that it took the audience by surprise.
And as the AACT's version of
Sweet Charity continued, the elec-
tricity flowed effusively. The per-
formances of several of the actors,
the musical numbers, and the cos-
tumes and the lighting made for an
,exuberant production.
As Charity Hope Valentine, a
beleaguered but optimistic dime-a-
dance girl, Sue Booth conveyed with
ease the determined sense of hope
and boundless love for which her
character stands. Her comedic ges-
tures were lively and well-timed.
During the "Charity's Soliloquy"
number, Booth clearly expressed the
loathing that the hostesses felt
when they had to dance with a
sleaze. A scene with Vittorio Vidal
(Peter Kentes), a dashing if obtuse
Italian film star, also played well.
The supporting actors com-
plemented Charity's energy, specifi-
cally John 0. Renken as Oscar, the
"normal" boyfriend, and Charity's
two dance hall pals, Helene and
Nickie (Sharon Sussman and Sharon
Bianca Greene). Renken's hilarious
portrayal of a claustrophobe in a
trapped elevator helped to carry
along the first act's otherwise flat
ending. The hostesses at the dance
bar, led by Nickie and Helene, con-
sistently received laughs for their
apathetic come-on lines. And the
harmony between Sussman, Greene
and Booth, as the three dream of
pedestrian careers in the song
"There's Gotta Be Something Better
Than This," was emotionally
charged.

Sweet Charity showcases several
large chorus numbers. Most notable
in the production were the "Rich
Man's Frug" and the "Rhythm of
Life" songs, which successfully
combined toe-tapping music with
modern dance choreography. While
the chorus itself was not always
strong vocally, they filled the stage
with force.
Perhaps what stole the show was
the lighting and costumes
(respectively designed by Thom
Johnson and Chris Reising). As the
musical was a period piece set in
1966, the lighting was primarily in
trippy and lurid fluorescent. This
quality worked well in the "Rich
Man's Frug," a dance club scene fea-
turing some aloof, oh-so-mod, mi-
cro-minied aristocrats. The cos-
tumes definitely helped the viewer
relate to the period, with baby doll
dresses for the hostesses and plat-
form shoes and polyester plaid for
their dance hall customers.
One large problem with the
performance was not the fault of
the company, but had to do with the
script itself. Sweet Charity is a long
play, and the dialogue is dated. Some
jokes are no longer relevant to to-
day's society; they're just not as
funny anymore. To tighten up the
performance, since the musical
numbers still appeal to the audience,
some editing of the original play
would have made it more enjoyable
overall. Even the AACT's vigorous
performance could not lift the play
from some of the holes in the dia-
logue, but the energy level certainly
made the evening worthwhile.
Sweet Charity will be per-
formed at the Lydia Mendelssohn
Theater through September 14. For
more information, call 763-1085.
-Diane Frieden

.1

Ouch!
Ann Arbor Dance Works returns with a melee of creative energy. Faculty choreographers Peter Sparling, Linda Spriggs, Gay Delanghe, and Jessica
Fogel and music director Stephen Rush will present recent or premiere compositions in a jam-packed program. Inspirations include Jane Austen's
Pride and Prejudice and poetry by Langston Hughes and A.R. Ammons. Here, Dance Department chair Peter Sparling shakes his booty in "Double
Exposure," a duet with Janet Lilly in which the dancers play randy outcasts of an urban disco-land. Gee, sounds like The Wiz.

La Femme Nikita
dir. Luc Besson
Luc Besson is not just hip, he's
ultrahip. No, he's super-ultraiber-
hip. His hipness pours out of his
body, runs down his legs and forms
pools of blue fire around his feet.

He is, for all intents and purposes,
Johnny Depp-on-earth.
Besson's first film, Metro (or
Subway, in the English-dubbed ver-
sion that's most common in video
stores), starred a dyed-white
Christophe Lambert as a tuxedo-

wearing vagabond. He traversed the
nooks and crannies of the Paris sub-
way with a bunch of surreal out-
casts looking to form a rock band,
while simultaneously being chased
by two detectives named Batman
and Robin who spoke in French but
swore in English.
The director's latest film, L a
Femme Nikita, is equally hip. The
basic plot: a Parisian street urchin
(Besson's wife, Anne Parillaud)
kills a cop; she's (of course!) re-
cruited into the French secret ser-
vice as an assassin; she gets good at
5TH AVE. AT LIBERTY 761.9700
$3DAIL HW BEFORE 6 PM
3.00 ALLDAY TUESDAY
STUDENT WITh I.D. $3.50
GOODRICH QUALITY THEATERS

for UAC / MUSKET's Production of

II

it; she falls in love; she starts get-
ting a conscience; and things go
wrong. Yeah, but what does Besson
care about a plot anyway? He's in-
terested in slick-looking shots, cool
technology and playing tag with the
idea of America (a central part of
every hip Europsyche). So, I guess
what I'm saying is, don't go to this
movie to be moved, but go to laugh
and to lap up the juices of a plastic
France that wants to be a cellophane
America.
La Femme Nikita will be
playing Saturday and Sunday at 7:00
and 9:00 in MLB 3.
-- Mike Kuniavsky
See CAMPUS, Page 9
FINK
Continued from page 5
ing Coen triumph of style over sub-
stance. Members of the "I-didn't-
get-it-so-it-must-be-good" school
of criticism will revel in Fink's ab-
surdities. The rest of us will just
say "Huh?" and hope the Coen
brothers will hire a good screen-
writer soon.

I

Monday, September 16 @7:00pm
in the Anderson Room of the Union

I

W I L L IAM H U R
THE
DtOCTORI

Cannes Film Festival
Winner- Best film
Best actor-sBest direction
BA RTON
AFI K

U-M Program in Film and Video Studies
and
U-M Center for Afroamerican and African Studies
Present
"Race" Films
A series of independent African American
and all-black cast films from 1926 to 1953.
Friday, September 13-- An Oscar Micheaux Double Bill

Al

El

Buy a 22 oz. drink
and get one
PR E SE NT THIS COUPON WITH
"PURCHASED TICKET THRU
9/20/91

--% i

BARTON FINK starts today at the
Ann Arbor 1 & 2.

God's Stepchildren (1936)

Murder in Harlem (1939)

Short: "Minnie the Moocher" with Cab Calloway.

S. MAIN STADIUM

STADIUM

ANN
ARBOR-
SALINE
ROAD

/

S. MAIN

WESTSIDE
DELI
2220 South Main Street
In Woodland Plaza
769-9470

Following God's Stepchildren, Bill Harris, Chief Curator, The
Museum of African American History (Detroit), will speak about
"Race" Films and Oscar Micheaux.
7 pm - Angell Hall Auditorium A
FREE
The "Race" Films Series will continue September 20, 27, October 4

F x

47

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