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September 08, 1994 - Image 14

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-09-08

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Page 14

THE MICHIGAN DAILY LIVING ARTS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1994

Page 14 THE MICHIGAN DAILY LIVING ARTS THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 1994

Familiar 'Pirates of Penzance' sails

Editor's note: The Stratford Fes-
tival is one of the most famous and
respected repertory companies in the
world. They present some 10produc-
tions, Shakespearean and otherwise,
throughout the summer and fall. In a
classics marathon, Melissa Rose
Bernardo reviewed six. Look for re-
views (plus actor profiles) today, to-
morrow and next week in Daily Arts.
By Melissa Rose Bernardo
Brian MacDonald knows a good
thing when he sees it. In 1985 he
directed and choreogaphed a breath-
taking "The Pirates of Penzance" in
the Avon Theatre, starring the versa-

to give it an encore - this season, on
the Festival stage. And though it will
forever pale in comparison to the first,
this year's production is a valiant and
enjoyable effort.
This "Pirates" is not an exact rec-
reation of its predecessor. No director
would plagiarize even himself. Here
we have a whole new premise: Some-
where around the 1920s, a struggling
film studio has decided to film amovie
musical version of "Pirates." The pro-
ducer hires a touring British theater
company, figuring that they have their
own costumes and will already be
rehearsed; then he hires fascist Ger-
man director Heinrich Von
Schtompinc (Tom Wood). The com-
pany turns out to be a bunch of stuffy,
powdered purists, and Schtompinc
must (literally) whip them into shape.
Well, you've gotta have a gim-
mick if you want to get a hand. Tom
Wood's additional dialogue is delight-
fully droll, with numerous jokes cen-
tering around the British - American
language barrier, and the first number

includes a hilarous send-up of Gilbert
and Sullivan. In a "42nd Street"-like
twist, a young studio hand falls into
the starring role, and Schtompinc rips
apart the costumes to set up a more
revaling, racy "Pirates."
The performances range from
dismissable to exhaustingly fun. Dou-
glas Chamberlain reprises his role as
Major-General Stanley, as does Karen
Wood as Edith; both are delightful as
ever, and a welcomed return. Barbara
Bryne as Ruth does not have the
sparkle of her past Stratford roles or
indeed of her Broadway roles.
Aggie Cekuta Elliot sings Mabel
just fine, though she was plagued by
unflattering costumes. Robert
Yeretch's Frederic is just a little too
musical theater; he acts and sings like
a refugee from "Guys and Dolls."
Colm Feore's Pirate King is very grand
- he makes his entrance on a wire
above the audience - and his voice is
big enough to match. Feore's antics
and charisma make his Pirate King a
fitting finish to a Stratford career.

C4
smoothly
The set pieces, the bits, the chore-
ography, the added lyrics are taken
exactly from the 1985 production.
(The lyric: "But one thing I don't
understand is anything Shake-
spearean, / Except it's played in the-
aters that I get very weary in.")
Knowing the 1985 production (and
Carver and Hyslop's performances),
this "Pirates" is a disappointment.
Considering MacDonald's creative
capacity, and the richness of Gilbert
and Sullivan's work, one would ex-
pect a new interpretation, not simply
an old one wearing a disguise. How- 1
ever, you'll still get plenty of laughs,
and you'll definitely be treated to
many great melodic renditions. The
cast gives their all, and in some cases,
effort outweighs presentation.
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE runs
in repertory through November 12 at
the Festival Theatre in Stratford,
Ontario.Fortickets, accommodations
or information about this orany other
productions, call the Stratford Festi-
val Box Office at (519) 273-1600.

tile Brent Carver and Jeff Hyslop.
That production met with such great
success that MacDonald has chosen

ARSITY O J

Colm Feore makes a grand exit in his last season as The Pirate King.

RECORDS
Continued from page 13

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songs are but a taste of the "Oldies but
Goodies" you'll find on this
soundtrack.
Simply put, those who worked to
assemble the music for this soundtrack
did a spectacularjob of finding songs
that are as familiar and endearing as
Forrest Gump himself.
- Eugene Bowen
Weezer
Weezer
DGC
If you are among the few that have
not checked out the eponymous debut
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boy harmonies and power chords is

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Else," "Buddy Holly," and "Surf Wax
America." Vulnerability and pop tunes
combine on "Weezer" to make it one
of the most interesting boy-angst al-
bums to date.
- Heather Phares
Leonard Cohen
Cohen Live
Columbia
Most of the favorites by the Cana-
dian powerhouse of dark tone-poetry
are here, including "Dance Me to the
End of Love," "Everybody Knows,"
and "Suzanne." The sound is lovely,
the music first-rate. Definitely rec-
ommended.
- Heather Phares

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