APPLAUSE! Musicals Society
Music directed by Scott Knight Music & Lyrics by Cole Porter and Book by Moss Hart
Date 5-8 October
2005 Venue Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby Reviewer Ed Farolan
It's amazing how Artistic Director Scott Ashton Swan garnered this group of talented singers and actors to come up with this performance with only a week's rehearsal!
But these talents are quite well-known in the Vancouver arts circle. Katherine Harris (The Queen) has performed for the company and has appeared with a number of Vancouver companies including the Vancouver Opera, Hoarse Raven Theatre, Metro Theatre and others. Michael Antonakos (Eric Dare) has been an actor since he was 10 and has performed in in a number of musicals including West Side Story, Sweeney Todd, Dames at Sea and On Broadway. He is also a TV and film actor.
Sarah Gay (Karen) makes her debut for APPLAUSE, but has studied musical theatre in Toronto's Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. Porter's signature songs "Begin the Beguine" and "It was just one of those things" which were popularized by such singers as Frank Sinatra originated from this Porter musical. Gay captivated the opening night audience at the Shadbolt with her rendition of these two classic Porter compositions.
Another actress making her debut with this company is Jeannette Gibault (The Princess), a graduate of UBC's School of Music. Her operatic rendition of Porter's songs gave an added boost to this production.
The other actors and singers acted as a team, and there were no unusual flaws to speak of. The ambience was just right for intimate theatre, although perhaps more projection was needed, as in the case of Lawrence Green (The King). I would also have preferred to see a man playing the Prime Minister instead of a female.
Dane Szohner as Mowgli was a perfect typecast. He was the spitting image of Johnny Weissmuller, for those seniors like myself who remember the old Tarzan movies. Saskatchewan-bred Aron L'Oste-Brown (The Prince), also making his debut, is a young talent that I'm certain will go places in his future career.
APPLAUSE! Musicals In Concert is in its 5th season, and their mission is to perform " rare, shelved and forgotten musicals" presented in concert style. On the basis of this production, it looks like a good season ahead.
© 2005 Ed Farolan