ANATOL IS POLITICALLY SLOW
Of course it was a time when Gentlemen bowed and scraped to put a hit on women. Any woman will do – just so they’re breathing. The direction by Barbara Oliver needs to speed things up. No, we don’t need a high-speed train to come through the stage, only some energy in the ponderous play.
Occasionally there is some buffoonery and snide remarks by Tim Kniffen as Max. He is probably the most amusing, but his projection would not hit the ball out of the park. Hard to hear some of it – clever as he is.
Schnitzler’s qualifications as a playwright were not universally praised. Some thought he was brilliant, and others thought his stuff should be burned. I think I’d go along with “Burn, baby Burn!”
Originally Schnitzler wrote nine little play-lets. Thank God, the Aurora decided to use only six of them. And thank God again, for having an intermission. Where else could you glean comments like this in the Gents Rest Room? Overheard: “I saw a third of the audience asleep. But I didn’t want to say anything!” – said an Elder gent.
Schnitzler’s “La Ronde” was a pretty big hit –and probably his only hit. In this play we get some relief during the second act. It rolled along a little faster and the barbs were much more bitchy. And bitchy in this kind of play is what I like. The only thing that Schnitzler and I have in common is that we were both born on May 15th. Of Course, I came around a little later…much later! Well, not that much later.
To get to the point, I truly believe that this group of play-lets could work, if someone (like a Director maybe) would guide the actors on the art of moving around. Stuffy is one thing, but to be that stuffy on the stage makes them look like they have just been to the Taxidermist. I know -- that’s the way they dressed at that time. But, really – you must admit that that all this sexual teasing would have at least shown a bare shoulder.
The lovely set design worked perfectly. A little drawing room music might help revive the show – talk, talk; talk with no diversion does not help. But hooray – finally near the end, we did get a little music – but none in the Restaurant. Why does that matter? Well – it would drown out the eating sounds for one thing.
The Actors are Superb: The plot is too lazy. As Anatol, Mike Ryan does some damn good acting. Tim Kniffin (Anatol’s pal) has the taut upper lift Gent look – but he could project a little more. Delia MacDougall (plays six different women) and she came through all this still breathing. How did she do it? I don’t know- it was a miracle. Wiley Naman Strasser (Franz/ensemble) was the most entertaining while he waited on the snot nosed rich people.
Great Set Design is by Jon Lacovelli. Krista Smith’s lighting is Divine. The play, is directed by Barbara Oliver, and Translated by Margret Schaefer. Question: Is it to late to transfer it back?
Now Playing at the Aurora Theatre
RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!!
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Sunday Datebook and he produced a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))
Tommy Igoe Electrifying Bandleader. Courtesy Photo
TOMMY IGOE AND HIS BAND ELECTRIFY THE AUDIENCE
GENE KRUPA WAS A GIANT IN THE OLD DAYS. A DRUMMER FOR THE WORLD.
Now comes along TOMMY IGOE, who out shines even the Great Krupa. I know it’s hard to believe, but that was then when Krupa formed the first real rhythm section in Count Basie’s Orchestra. And he was the original hi-hat artist. Just to let the young talents know how Krupa looked, I’m posting a picture of him.
Now we have a new Superman drumming god. And that is Tommy Igoe. He is totally mesmerizing. Igoe is also a great innovator. His taste in music swings way out – and the solos that he gives us are just the most joyful I’ve heard. He sure can make those drums sing. It’s amazing how he can turn a simple beat into mesmerizing mantra. Igoe has a thunderous technique that is playful and entertaining. It’s hard swinging magic. No doubt about it. He is a great musical technician.
With his marvelous band – Igoe’s boys bring some of the most incredible, smooth music to the Rrazz. And as far as Igoe goes – he seems to have more hands and feet than any musician I have ever seen.
Check this out. The Tommy Igoe band will be appearing every April - Monday Evenings -- at the Rrazz. Believe me – this is some of the most eloquent playing that I’ve heard in a long, long time. Impeccably presented. The sound is “One for the Ages!”
RATING: Four glasses of Champagne!!!! (highest rating) –trademarked-
(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he produced and hosted a long-running Arts Segment on PBS KQED)))
The Photo of Lee Hartgrave Boy Reporter is by Jim Ferreira – Film Noir & Hollywood Glamour. www.lafterhall.com.
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