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June 14, 1985 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1985-06-14

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ARTS
. Friday, June 14, 1985

a

The Michigan Daily

Page 8

Flawed 'Bells' strikes a resounding note
By Noelle Brower Though flawed in some areas, solid
By Nolle Bower performances highlight the Ann Ar-
bor Civic Theater production. The
T HERE IS A widely used formula simple story of Ella, a receptionist at
for the writing of a play termed Susanswerphone, an answering ser-
les pieces bien faites, literally vice, and her involvement with one of
the well made play. This dramatic her clients, playwright Jeff Moss, is i
mode includes all the essential clever and entertaining, though so
ingredients- necessary to create a predictable that the audience is
decent, though usually bland, play - usually one scene ahead of the action.
a likeable hero or heroine, some sort Alison Reed Robison's perfor-
of conflict concerning them, and in mance as Ella is lively, warm and
the end a usually happy resolution, consistent. University of Michigan-
A similar formula can be found in Flint graduate Thomas Cooch's
the dramatic structure of the characterization of Jeff Moss is
musical; unlike the play, which uses professional and clean; his gestures
dialogue to advance the plot, the and stage movement are precisely
musical uses song and dance num- placed and convincingly compliment
bers for the same purpose. Robison's Ella.
The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre's The supporting cast includes
production of Bells Are Ringing, a Patricia Rector perfectly cast as Sue
musical comedy by Julie Styne, Betty and a delightful cameo by Andy Lin-
Comden and Adolph Green, is an ac- dstrom as Dr. Kitchell. Overall the
curate example of this genre. It cen- chorus performed well, but it could"
ters upon the standard plot found in so have been rehearsed a bit more to
many musicals during the heyday of tighten up the loose ends.
Broadway and Hollywood. Boy meets In the theatre, especially in the
girl - conflict - boy loses girl - musical theatre, production is almost
revelation - boy and girl really do as important as the performances
love each other - resolution - love themselves. When I say that the
conquers all for boy and girl. Of cour- production aspect of the musical
se there are subplots involved, but Wednesday night was poorly
usually only as an excuse for the executed, I know I am not telling the Daily Photo by ALISA BLOCK
writers to add extra songs. producers anything they don't already Shown is a visual excerpt from a dress rehearsal of 'Bells Are Ringing' now playing at the Power Center. The
This kind of theatre demands little know themselves. The changes bet- song and dance is fast and furious but marred by dubious technical work.
of an audience except to sit back and ween scenes were perhaps the worst I get into place for the next number. professionalism they were hardly The musical itself is long, running
enjoy the production. This small have ever seen. The visibility of stage This should only happen during re- worth it. Since this was the opening three hours and fifteen minutes. Per-
request from a show is a pleasant one hands cumbersomely prodding the hearsals, and only at early rehearsals formances are tonight and Saturday
in the wake of the may doom and scenery into place was embarassing for that matter. Granted, the sets night performance one can only hope at 8 p.m., with a Saturday matinee at
gloom plays that have filled the Ann as were the sightings of actors and ac- were complex and cleverly construc- that the producers have improved 2 p.m. Performances are at The
Arbor theaters lately. tresses running behind the scenery to ted, but at the expense of upon all of these problems. Power Center.

Records
Gino Vanelli -n
Black Cars (HME) f
The only sight uglier than a deter-
mined but mediocre songwriter n
stumbling through a long and 14
inauspicious career is that of an unin- a
spired hack trying to stay in the gamei
by trying on whatever fashion is in t
vogue in hopes of being swept along a
with the wave to some marginal c
level of success. Such a character is a
Gino Vanelli, who about twelve yearsa
ago had a few minor hits (when he
was considered a jazz pop artist, of p
all things) with his fortunately uniqueu
brand of syrupy synth balladry. k
Vanelli's tireless retreading of thed
STANLEY H. KAPLAN r
'V c
0
'c2 c
- I
g
OLiS namswRois 5
'~ N 662-3149 i
DnC4 . 203Oover 1
CV#M n LTD. Ann Arbor, MI 48104

same formula through the years
made him an anachronism in his own
ield.
Enter Black Cars, featuring the
ew Gino, who's shed the gold chains,
eisure suit, and long locks to affect
n MTV-conscious look, and whose
musical duds reflect a desire to ape
he sound of big urban funk-pop that's
ll the rage. There are lots of in-
essant rhythm machines pounding
way over timid synthdisco tracks,
with stylistic steals from the Police9
on "Hurts To Be In Love") and
Daryl Hall ("It's Over"), spiffed up
with some incongruous neo-classical
eyboard flourishes, and buried un-
der a mountain of overdubs meant to
hide the guy's lack of instinct (he
hasn't even got a good sense of
rhythm).
The writing is stale, milking every
liche in the book about falling in and
ut of love, with a few chunky attem-
pts at cinematic- or rather
'ideomatic-imagery, none of which
ets any more depth from Vanelli's
vocals-sounding like Rupert Hine
mpersonating Howard Jones-that
are so overprocessed they sound
nhumanely cold. The record is slick,
ike an oil patch on a wet road.
-Byron L. Bull

I

featuring instead a slew of pop tracks,
only a few of which are even used in
the movie, and only then buried far
back in the soundtrack, coming out of
a radio or TV.
Soundtracks catering painstakingly
to format radio are big these days
(witness, Beverly Hills Cop and
Footloose) and this disc, to its credit,
is one of the most exactingly
calculated efforts yet. The selected
popsters pretty much rehash what's
been hot the last few months in the
tepid field of commercial radio, with
cuts by Cyndi Lauper, Luther Van-
dross, Teena Marie, even REO
Speedwagon for crying out loud.

0

0

T hee Bangles
h nnb y hn- -*-- .

Two of the tracks, Lauper's true-to- ... ueiD un tis recoin
Lauper formula "Goonies 'R' Good Enough"
and a studio band concoction called From Goonies" and a cold-fish num-
...just rehash this time around "Eight Arms To Hold You With" have ber by flash-in-the-pan Philip Bailey,
been getting fair amounts of airplay. are more filler dead-weight than the
If the movie isn't an absolute bomb album might be able to support.
Various Artists-The (and returns have been less than The inclusion of one legitimate
Goonies/Original Soun- spectacular) the momentum will band, The Bangles, with an
dtrack (Columbia) probably last long enough to spin off inauspicious ditty called "I Got
another couple of hit singles, which Nothing," hardly compensates for an
First off, this thing has to be ex- would make the venture a commer- otherwise soulless, purely sales-
posed as the outright sham it is, pur- cial success, even if album sales don't conscious release that's as disposable
porting to be a soundtrack when it in- take off. This is a possibility, as a as it is deplorable.
cludes none of the (admittedly garish) number of tunes, like Dave Grusin's
orchestral score from - the film, .(REO) lethargically muzaky "Theme --Byron L. Bull

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