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April 11, 1991 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-11

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ARTS
Thursday, April 11, 1991

The Michigan Daily

Page 8

Ship's ahoy, set sail for fun

by Beth Colquitt

It just occurred to me last night, as
I pondered this show, that H.M.S.
Pinafore is an utterly ridiculous
name for a ship. Would any self-re-
specting captain pilot a ship with a
name like "Pinafore?" Really-.
It is an unusually apt description
for a musical, however. A pinafore
is an apron-like frock which covers
the front of a dress, and is largely a
superfluous garment. This is also
true of Gilbert and Sullivan's
H.M.S. Pinafore, which is being
performed this weekend by
Uniiversity's Gilbert and Sullivan
Society at the Mendelsshon Theatre.
Because this is the time of year that
students are under the most stress, I
would venture to say that this
frivolous .comedy is especially
timtely.
Pinafore is nearly a nonsense
musical. The plot is so simple it is
downright silly - the theme is a
standard love story between mem-
bers of different social classes, and
the idea that "love can level all
ranks." Ralph Rackstraw, a common
sailor, is in love with Josephine, the

captain's daughter - which makes
the situation impossible. Josephine,
naturally, is engaged to someone of
higher rank and, in true romance
form, is stuffy, snobbish,
marginally attractive and boring.
Other plot complications are of-
fered by Dick Deadeye, the villain
who wants to keep the lovers apart,.
and the captain himself. Of course,
there has been a mix-up and Ralph
has a past which will be uncovered
by an old but dear nursemaid (who
is still hanging around!) which will
allow him to be equal to Josephine
in social rank and thus live happily
ever after.
This production will be quite
special in terms of the set, which
will cover the entire theater. The
stage action will take place at the
stern, and the rest of the ship will
extend into the house as far as the
lobby. Director Audrey LaVelle,
making her UMGASS directorial
debut with Pinafore, says "we want
to give the feeling that life isn't a
vacuum. In most musicals, every-
thing else fades away while scenes
are going on. In (this show) there

will be people working on the ship
during the scenes, climbing in the
rigging, and generally trying to give
the audience the feel of life on the
ship." Set Designer Scott DeChant
has been working on the idea since
before UMGASS's last perfor-
mance of H.M.S. Pinafore, over five
years ago, says the publicity director
Susan Duderstadt.
Pinafore, says LaVelle, is a mu-
sical which engages in "a sort of
tongue-in-cheek finger-wagging at
the cast system." It is not a realistic
story, she says, so 'wee re not taking
it too seriously." As if one should
take a fluffy satirical romance about
a boat named "Pinafore" seriously.
The music is a splendid creation,
typical of Gilbert and Sullivan.
HI.M.S. PINAFORE is playing at the
Mendelssohn Theatre tonight
through Saturday at 8 p.m. and
Saturday, Sunday and April 20 and
21 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $7.50,
$8.50, $9.00 and $10.00. Student
tickets are $5 with I.D. They are
availa ble at the Mendelssohn
Theatre box office.

9

from the right, with the silly sly grin. But the band doesn't resemble the New Kids in the least.
The Happy Mondays rave on

0

Less says mlore in Love Letters

by Jenie Dahiman
In a Broadway world full of
Andrew Lloyd Webber's box office
busting spectacles, it is nice to know
that you don't always need grand-
scale hoopla to have a hit. A.R.
Gurney's hugely successful play
Love Letters proves it. The produc-
tion simply consists of two actors
sitting side by side reading the let-
ters exchanged between their char-
acters, Andrew Makepeace Ladd III
and Melissa Gardner, over a 50-year
timespan. The unadulterated hon-
esty conveyed in their letters endear
Andy and Melissa to the audience
and reminds everyone that, as Andy
writes in the first act, "letters are a
way of presenting yourself in the
best possible light to another per-
son."
Written in 1989, this play has al-

ready toured over 30 American
cities and has an impressive, as well
as diverse, acting alumni list, in-.
cluding Colleen Dewhurst,
William Hurt and Kathleen Turner.
The play has been read by young
couples as well as mature ones and
changes with every cast. Young cou-
ples bring a certain sexual vibrancy
while older couples enhance the au-
tumn of youth theme in the play.
Regardless of who reads it, how-
ever, Love Letters has a universal
theme. Andy and Melissa love each
other but something in the stars
keeps them from being together.
Life leads them in physically sepa-
rate directions, but their ongoing
correspondence binds them together
emotionally. Andy alludes to the
strong tie between he and Melissa
most effectively in the second act,
when he writes, "The thought of

never again being able to write to
you, to connect to you, to get some
signal back from you, fills me with
an emptiness which is hard to de-
scribe."
A.R. Gurney's Love Letters
fills one with the hope of having a
letter from an old friend in the
mailbox, and with the ambition to
rekindle the dying art of letter
writing.
LOVE LETTERS will be performed
at the Michigan Theater Saturday
night at 8 p.m. Robert Reed, the vet-
eran stage actor trained at the
British Royal Academy but best
known for his portrayal of Mike
Brady in The Brady Bunch, and
Tammy Grimes, a Tony award win-
ning actress, will lend their inter-
pretations to Gurney's heartwarm-
ing script. Tickets are $26.50, $8.50
for students.

by Annette Petruso
Wle' re better than New Kids on
the Block" - Shaun Ryder in
December 1990's issue of Q
Most Americans hate the Happy
Mondays; I don't. Most Americans
also detest the highly undervalued
New Kids; I don't. Manchester's
latest musical present to the world
is under-appreciated. I ask some nay-
sayers why they dislike them and all
I get is a "they suck." Obviously, I
talk to very small-minded people.
But until now I haven't come up
with a comprehensive argument as
to why someone should give them a
chance-.
They do do a lot of drugs -- the
college kids and other "rebels"
should like that. They can play their
instruments and come up with a
good tune. Shaun Ryder can't sing
for shit, but his vocal style is quite
laid back and gives one faith that
anyone but anyone can be famous.

What else do you want? For you the
reader, I have comprised six whole
reasons to give them a listen. (All
quotes from Shaun Ryder come
from the issue of Q noted above.) .
1. The Records. The Mondays
have four lengthy works (three re-
leased in the U.S.A.), uniformly
full of deft guitar work, hooky
tunes, danceable grooves, thought-
provoking imagery and Ryder's
pseudo-spoken vocals which are
sometimes effectively paired with
real back-up singers. Their first LP,
the '87 import Squirrel and G-Man
was produced by John Cale (yes, the
John Cale) features sort of jangley
electric guitars and first-rate
rhythms. Bummed followed it up in
'88, and is definitely their full
lengthy magnum opus. From "The
Country Song" to "Lazy Ihis," they
addictively trench into pop border-
ing on rock with few funny ma-
chines (or so it seems). Hallelujah,
their '89 EP, experiments in more

direct house music than its predeces-
sors and thereby features loads o'
remixes making you want to shake
your booty. Last year's Pills 'N'
Thrills and Bellyaches mixes the
club channels with the moree
straightforward pop ones.
2. The Song. "Wrote for Luck,"
off Bummed, the re-mix tacked on
the end of the American version of
that album and on Hallelujah is just
dead brilliant. "I wrote for luck/
they sent me you! ... you give me
poison/ ya used to speak the truth
but now you're clever" Ryder sings
as the band jams, tight as fuck. His
inflection borders on perfect and he
even mumbles at the end adding a ca-
sual mocking air. Because the song
has that snatch quality, it was easy
to remix into equally stunning
tunes.
3. The Cover. "We didn't know
Step On .... As soon as we heard the
bongo drums that start the song, we
said ... we'll sample the bongos and
everything else, and I'll sing about
three lines off it, and we've done it
in about two seconds. ... It was ...
the easiest thing we've ever done,"
said Ryder. Their American record
company wanted John Kongo's.
smash from 1971 covered for a spe-
cial album. No matter how little
they actually did on it, the song in
every re-mix blasts dead center.
With the uncomparable back-up dec-e'>
larations of "he's gonna step on you
See MONDAYS, Page 12
knko-'s

r I

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