AISLE SAY Florida

 

CAN-CAN

 

Music and Lyrics by Cole Porter
Book by Abe Burrows
Directed by Roberta MacDonald

Golden Apple Dinner Theatre

25 N. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-5454
Nov. 20, ’07 to Jan. 6, ’08

 

Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker

 

With its “magnifique” musical numbers and Paris setting, 1893, Can-Can stays fresh at Golden Apple as at its Broadway debut over fifty years ago. Credit also goes to Roberta MacDonald wisely directing it as the two-periods play it is. She’s chosen perfect leads. KT Curran glamorizes Pistache, whose Montmartre café features “laundresses”-by-day kicking up by night with high flying skirts in a low down dance. As new judge Aristide, Roy Johns is out to determine first-hand the morality of the can-can and if its illegality is warranted. Despite their instant mutual attraction, the conflict inherent in their separate “businesses” severely strains their getting together. A parallel dilemma involves lead dancer Claudine (fetching Kari Constantine), in love with silly sculptor Boris (broadly comic Tom Bengston). He uses her to try to get favorable reviews from John Russo’s starchy critic Jussac. That the outcomes are never in doubt doesn’t detract from the fun ways—notably a hilarious “show” of Boris’ sculptures—of reaching them.

 

Simple scenery allows for many quick changes of setting, but costumes are spectacular. Not only as a designer but a one-woman costume shop, Dee Richards turns out slick, elegant gowns for Pistache as well as unusual dark lace dresses with fuschia, yellow, white ruffled underskirts and panties for the dancers—and a variety of practical or pretty clothes in between. Samantha Barrett, Garie Jean Williams, Kelly Sardinas, Sarah Farnam join Kari Constantine as the prettiest and most precise performers high-stepping for choreographer DeWayne Barrett in recent times. John Visser provides musical direction that, with the exception of a few tinny bridges, lets Cole Porter’s score weave its spell. Curran sustains that with “I Love Paris” as well as “Allez-Vous En” and Johns gives out “I Am in Love” with such sentimental strength that he raises a wonder why this love song isn’t a more popular standard. The show’s most visually memorable moments may accrue to Charles McKenzie’s slithering out of the tree in The Garden of Eden Ballet and then down, across, away.

 

Time: 2 hrs., 30 mins. including a 15 min. intermission.

 

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