Okay, I know I have been remiss in my reviews of our season of shows at Weston Playhouse. I do have a reason (okay, an excuse) though, the weather has been so spectacular here in Woodstock, that we have been spending as much time as we can outside. A little gardening, lots of walking around this lovely village…you get the picture.
Here we go, my impressions on show #3, Damn Yankees, show # 4, The Marvelous Wonderettes, and last but not least, Death of a Salesman. I will start with Damn Yankees. This is the story of a man, Joe Boyd, who makes a deal with the devil in the summer of 1958, in Washington DC, about his beloved baseball team, The Washington Senators. If they could just get a “long ball hitter” they could beat those “Damn Yankees”. He laments that he would sell his soul for a long haul hitter. Enter…Mr Applegate, The Devil, and he is ready to make a deal with Joe. He tells him he can give up his soul to become “Joe Hardy the slugger the team needs”. If Joe Hardy is in the game for the duration, Mr Applegate gets him. If by 9:00 pm on the last game day, he isn’t in for the duration, Joe gets his old life back. I won’t give the whole story away, but Mr Applegate does everything he can to get Joe. There is lots of singing and dancing. The show was good, albeit dated. We thought the actor who played Mr Applegate was very good. The rest of the cast was just okay. Past musicals we have seen here had a more Broadway feel than this show.
On to show # 4, The Marvelous Wonderettes….Quoting the Weston Playhouse PR …..”It is a cotton-candy-colored musical from the past” This show was at one of their other stages–Weston Rod & Gun Club. This venue is EXACTLY as its name says, a Rod & Gun Club. By no means fancy, with terribly UNCOMFORTABLE chairs. The show starts out in 1958, at the senior prom and the 4 Wonderettes tell their story through the classic songs of the 1950′s and 1960′s girl groups. The show raps up 10 years later at the reunion. Lots of familiar tunes like Lollipop, Lipstick on Your Collar, Mr Sandman, just to name a few. We enjoyed the old songs, but we did feel the performance lacked electricity. Only back-up accompaniment was a piano. Kind of felt like community theatre, not that I don’t like community theatre, but for professional performers, frankly community theatre members do a far better job. As you can tell, we weren’t particularly happy with this show.
Now, our last show, Death of a Salesman, the Arthur Miller timeless Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning play. The heartbreaking story of a traveling salesman fighting a changing times while struggling to capture the American Dream. Christopher Lloyd plays Willy Loman. We found it was difficult to separate the Christopher Lloyd of Taxi and Back to the Future roles. It also appeared, at times, he had trouble remembering lines. The supporting cast was extremely good. They were able to carry Christopher, when he stumbled. He just didn’t seem a good fit for the role, which made the show a little long.
Well, that was my view of this season at Weston Playhouse. Some very good, some just okay. All in all, our first year with season tickets was fun. We spent 5 Tuesday evenings losing ourselves in make believe. We are looking forward to Spring 2011 when the new season is announced. We definitely have the live theatre bug–stay tuned…Winter may have us going to the Flynn in Burlington and Northern Stage in White River Junction!