Romance and leather pants
I think I'll try to whip up a 2006 retrospective by the end of the week. No promises. I may look back, realize how much amazing theatre, I didn't see, and decide I'm way too much of a poseur to give out jokey awards. I only saw, what 45 plays? 2006 was a year of comparative slacking. Only to be expected. After all, 2005 was a mad, doomed, dash to glory, a demented attempt to see a show in every Chicago Off-Loop venue, a magnificent failure that will be sung through the ages. In 2006, theatre-going became a way of life.
And it's a damn fine way to live.
On to the first show of 2007! The Three Musketeers (1/3, get it?). A balls-to-the-wall attempt at a Very Big Musical, with cast members everywhere and impressively wide costumes for the women. I enjoyed it, because I am great of heart, and there was a lot to watch, but it worried me. The biggest problem- I only actually liked two songs. The music was usually decent, if hook deficient, but the lyrics were unfailingly bland. In fact, the songs were bland on a fundamental level, because the concepts behind them reached heroic heights of bland. There's nothing resonant and sparky in a song called "Paris by Night," or "Who Could Have Dreamed of You." There was nothing to match the sparingly used "All for one, and one for all," nothing with the potential to become a cliche.* All the numbers were tasteful, no doubt, but I'd rather have a little more Disneyesque cheese and a lot more of a good time.
Also, we sat in the front row side corner, which was both an action corner, and a terrible place to sit, as the show was totally oriented to the front. If you want to stage thrust, stage thrust. It means ALL the seats are good, and if there are two people on stage, everybody sees at least one of their faces. If you can't cut it, go back to proscenium. Sheesh.
When I wasn't looking at the actors' shiny satin/leather backs, I was happily terrorized by their swords. The first act had a couple of massive combat set pieces that had me melting into my seat back, and wondering if I could trust a musical theatre actor's point control. This part, of course, I liked. There's nothing better than a front row seat and a fear of serious injury.
Click for show details.
*The eminent feat of writing, of course, is to coin a cliche.