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February 23, 1996 - Image 10

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-02-23

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10 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, February 23, 1996

...............

Basement Arts' enjoyable 'Labor of love.

By Tyler Patterson
For the Daily
It is difficult to comprehend, forthose
of us who are mere theater-goers and
not involved with the intricacies of show
business, the pressure of producing a
Shakespearean play. Perhaps more than
any other playwrightthe performances
of these plays are scrutinized by intel-
lectual creampuffs like myself; they are
criticized for their interpretation and
"faithfulness" to the original texts. For
last weekend's Basement Arts produc-
tion of "Love's Labor's Lost," no such
criticism is needed.
The changes made by director Mar-
garet Jones flowed so smoothly that
after the first scene nothing was even
noticeable. The set and costume de-
signs had a 1920s flavor to it, and the
smoking and drinking of the cast mem-
bers was dealt with so well it actually
enhanced their performances.
The story began with three lords,
Berowne (Seth Hitsky), Longaville
(Ernie Nolan) and Dumaine (Paul
Friedman), sharing an oath with their
King (Robert Macadaeg). They swore

REVIEW
Love's
Labor's Lost
Arena Theater
Feb. 15, 1996
that for three years they would remain
faithful to their studies by adhering to a
strict diet and avoiding women.
Mischief occurs when the Princess of
France (Heather Adams) visits the king
on official business with three Ladies
of her Court, Rosaline (Stephanie
Bernstein), Katharine (Greta Enzser)
and Maria (Lynette Roth). A sort of
game, then, is created between the sexes
as they vie for an advantage over the
other.
The strength of the production was
the chemistry of cast, especially be-
tween the aforementioned actors. The
two standout performances were defi-
nitely Stephanie Bernstein as Rosaline
and Seth Hitsky as Berowne. Their abil-

ity to hold the audience's attention and
deliver comic punches were unparal-
leled by their fellow cast members. This
is not to knock anyone else's perfor-
mance, but meant to express the ease in
which Bernstein and Hitsky played off
each other.
In supporting roles, Elif Celebi as
Boyet was more than competent. Cos-
tard the Swain, played by Stacy Mayer,
was often very funny and did quite a bit
to lift the play in areas that might have
dragged otherwise.
Special praise should be reserved for
Erin Galligan, who played Moth the
Handful of Wit, working alongside
Allison Tkac, who performed in the
role of Don Adriano de Armado. Tkac
seemed to struggle playing the arrogant
and somewhat aggressive Armado, al-
though rallying at key points. Thank-
fully, Galligan delivered Tkac from her
hardships with comic deliveries and an
entertaining stage personality that only
comes with natural ability and experi-
ence.
The other supporting roles were
solid and did nothing to disrupt the

pleasant rhythm of the play. The cast
seemed to enjoy working with each
other and that goodfeeling carried over
to the audience. This is no doubt ac-
countable to the efforts of Margaret
Jones and her co-director, Nathalie
Peterson.
To anyone familiar with the typical
structure of a Shakespearean comed
happy endings when the good guys geT
married and the bad guys don't are
expected. In this play, however, the
ending was slightly more melancholy.
No one got married, and the question of
whether or not these sex-starved men
will find love is put off for a year. A
year being too long for a play, as
Berowne so aptly puts it, so the story
ends.
The only thing with a sense of cl
sure, then, was the game played by t
ladies and the men. Once the game
died, the players were left in that mo-
ment of sober reflection that comes
after a period of shameless horseplay. I,
too, was caught reflecting, after shame-
lessly enjoying another Basement Arts
performance.

'Chuckle' your head off at the Bling Pig
The Boston funk-rock band Chucklehead makes another trip to Ann Arbor this
Saturday night so you can shake your booty all night long at the Blind Pig.
Chucklehead's mix of juicy guitar riffs, booming bass lines and pounding drums
make their infectious grooves irresistible. After numerous trips to A-squared, the
band has established itself as a local favorite that won't ever fail to entertain.
Whatever type of music you like, Chucklehead will play it. Just check 'em out.
Come hear what all the buzz is about surrounding this great live act. Baked Potato
will open up the show. The Blind Pig's doors open at 9:30 p.m., tickets are a mere
$5 and, as always, the show is for those of you ages 19 and over.

RECORDS
Contluned from Page 9
The Rationals
Temptation 'Bout To Get Me
Total Energy
Ann Arbor High Schoolers many
years ago, the Rationals began a small
career in the decade called the '60s.
This album was recorded live at the
Grande Ballroom in'68 (perhaps you've
heard its name whispered as the
Heidelberg's is, except of course that
the Heidelberg is experiencing a form
of living death while the Grande is long
gone). Compared with what later came
out of Ann Arbor.the Rationals seem to

have been a rather distasteful aberra-
tion, although they bear a lot more rela-
tion to today's bands than the Stooges
do. In many ways aping both the
Motown and the then arising classic
rock sound, they for the most part end
up sounding like some sort ofJoe Cocker
type of deal.
Well, led by extant local musician
Scott Morgan (who should have taken
up with Blood, Sweat and Tears when
they offered him singing duties), the
Rationals weren't all that special.
The liner notes on the CD betray
inbreeding of localized positive re-
sponse and feeling that sometimes
develops around certain bands for no
good reason. You can sense the deep
need in the notes for placing the band
into some kind of context of insuffer-
ably tiny people. Aging music scene
+- ~

Well, the band at the very least
butchers the classics "Fever" and "I
Put a Spell on You." Their deep toned
flailings gasp around like Morgan
doesn't have enough oxygen to sing
quite properly.
In the end, the recording may reveal
something very deep about Ann Arbor
music; the annoying funk feel that is
very prevalent in local bands now goes
way back. And it wasn't any good then,
either.
- Ted Watts

Bandit Queen
Hormone Hotel
Mammoth

Bandit Queen create angry female
pop-rock along the lines of PJ Harvey
and Throwing Muses -song titles like
"Back in the Belljar," "Petals and
Razorblades," "Oestrogen" and "Frida
Kahlo" make it clear that the female
condition is Bandit Queen's lyrical
wellspring. Like a more pissed-off
Echobeliv or a socially-conscious
Elastica, this British group takes loud,
discordant guitars and pits them against
sweet-and-sour harmonies.
The aforementioned "Back in the
Belljar," "Scorch," "Nailbiter" and
"Oestrogen" showcase the group's
witty, aggressive, confrontational
side, while "Miss Dandys," "Over-
ture for Beginners" and the title track
of the album feature a more delicate
pop sensibility. As with most politi-
cally motivated groups, Bandit Queen
lacks something in lyrical subtlety.
But the band's energy and strong
songwriting overcome this tendency.
It's not easy to make music that can
make people think as well as rock out,
but with "Hormone Hotel" Bandit
Queen does just that.
- Heather Phares

"Hey Tim, I loved you in 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show.' Will you show me how to be a transvestite amphibian?"
Ahoy there!New Muppets delight

Eat, drink, smoke and be merry with Bandit Queen.

By Neal C. Carruth
Daily Arts Writer
Those madcap Muppets are back in
the new picture "Muppet Treasure Is-
land." Kermit, Miss Piggy, Gonzo,
Fozzie and, yes, the Swedish Chef have
teamed up again for their fifth feature
film. It is a sad comment on the current
spate of movies to report that "Muppet
Treasure Island" is probably the best
release, thus far, of 1996.
The plot is loosely based on the clas-
sic novel by Robert Louis Stevenson.
Young Jim Hawkins (Kevin Bishop) is
given a treasure map by the crusty old

m M"

$69

% Al
Videos
*1 99 f

-j>
The University of Michigan
School of Music
Sunday, February 25
Theatre & Drama Production
The Male Animal by James Thurber and Elliott Nugent
Directed by Hal Cooper
Mendelssohn Theatre, 2 p.m.
Tickets: $16, $12, $6 (students)
(764-0450)
Michigan Chamber Players
" Beethoven: Serenade, Op. 8, with Andrew Jennings, violin;
Yizhak Schotten, viola; Erling Blondal Bengtsson, cello
eShostakovich: Piano Quintet, with Martin Katz, piano; Andrew
Jennnings, violin; Stephen Shipps, violin; Hong-Mei Xiao, viola;
Anthony Elliott, cello
Recital Hall, 4 p.m.
Campus Band
Damien Crutcher and Tania Miller, conductors
Hill Auditorium, 4p.m.
Friday, February 1
Guest Master Class
Cellist Crispin Campbell, Interlochen Arts Academy
2044 Moore Building, 2:30 -4:30p.m.
Guest Master Class
Tubist Phil Sinder, MSU
Recital Hall, 5-7 p.m.
Guest Recital
Crispin Campbell, cello
Suites for Solo Cello by J.S. Bach:
Suite No. 3 in C Major, BWV 1009

sailor Billy Bones (Billy Connolly, for-
merly of TV's "Head of the Class").
Subsequently, Jim sets sail with the
adventurous Captain Smollett (Kermit
the Frog) to seek the buried treasure.
Of course, Jim initially befriends the
duplicitous Long John Silver (Tim
Curry), the ship's cook. But Long John
betrays the crew, Jim and his traveling
companions, Gonzo and Rizzo the Rat.
Still, a native tribe of warthogs, led by
Miss Piggy (easily the most famous
film swine before "Babe"), stands in
the way of Long John's plot.
After a rather violent opening se-
quence with a couple of shootings and
singing snakes and skulls, "Muppet
Treasure Island" settles into a comfort-
able rhythm of self-aware, irreverent
humor. For example, when Billy Bones
dies early in the film, Rizzo turns to the
audience and queries, "He died? I
thought this was a kids' movie."
The Muppets are in rare form in
"Muppet Treasure Island." They have
always been appealing because they
never pander to the audience (unlike
the lame Jim Henson creations on
"Sesame Street"). They don't live a
saccharine reality, but rather, they pos-
sess a carefully cultivated eccentricity
and crankiness. Despite this, and prob-
ably because of it, they are quite en-
dearing. The appearance of each well-
known character was greeted with ap-
plause and cheers from the children and
adults in the audience
Indeed, the Muppets outflank the
human actors in the film. Tim Curry,
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Earn up to $8.50 per hour
Roadway Package System, a small
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package handlers to load and unload
package vans and semi-trailers. If
you are not afraid of hard work, are
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we can offer you $6.50/hr. to start,

REVIEW.
Muppet
Treasure Island
Directed by Brian Henson
with Tim Curry
and Kermit the Frog
At Showcase
despite his bulging eyes and spastic
laughter, appears rather restrained in
his role as Long John. And when he
bursts into song with Muppets, it's
enough to make one yearn for the un-
bridled Frank N. Furter.
Kevin Bishop makes his debut in
"Muppet Treasure Island." He has pri-
marily done stage work in England and
it shows, as he registers all emotions
with exaggeration. But he does a fie
job, surrounded as he is by hundreds
Muppets.
Billy Connolly is quite funny in the
film's early scenes. He is an actor of
great comic energy and appears to rel-
ish acting opposite talking rats, cows
and chickens. And the delightful Jenni-
fer Saunders (Edina on the NBC's"Ab-
solutely Fabulous") has a brief role as a
tyrannical tavern keeper. She's so bur-
ied under layers of makeup and paddi
that I didn't recognize her at first,
it's a great bit.
But it's not surprising that the hu-
mans are eclipsed by the Muppets. It's
clear that director Brian Henson is more
comfortable eliciting performances
from his puppeteers than from his hu-
man actors. And Henson has some
trouble with pacing, as the film loses
some momentum after Captain Smollett
sets sail. To his credit, though, Hens n
does have a good visual sense and a
for large-scale, detailed compositions.
Also on the positive side, special
attention should be paid to the film's
terrific musical score and dance num-
bers, scored by Hans Zimmer ("Driv-
ing Miss Daisy," "Crimson Tide"),
Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. The
high point of"Muppet Treasure'island"
is a surreal, Carmen Miranda-esque
number called "Cabin Fever." It i s 4
sort of spry humor, appealing to b i
children and adults, that keeps "Muppet
Treasure Island" from lapsing into
kiddie banality.

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