Sunday, December 31, 2006

Beauty and the Beast

Northwest Children’s Theater
Posted by Followspot December 30, 2006; closes December 31, 2006

Despite could’ve-been’s (tighter, neater, polished and rounded), credit director Kirk Mouser’s music theatre sensibilities for snaring my miso-Mouse in such a tale. The luring bait: daunting Isaac Lamb, spry Joseph Klei, perfectly-timed James Peppers, tapered Corey Brunish. Conversely: surprisingly poor technical elements from some of Portland’s finest designers downright distracting.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was dissapointed to see such a bland performance. I found the costumes horribly pale, the set was not completed when I saw it, and to top it off the popular "Be Our Guest" was not a big dance number at all (not to mention the whole show was not coregraphed to well). I was disapointed that they held wine glasses rather than became the silverware. Kristi Foster, Corey Brunish, and Sherilyn Lawson definatly stood out in the bunch. Also, what was up with the beasts make up?

Anonymous said...

A shame to see such a talented cast - loaded with sure-thing talent - so poorly showcased. What is the deal?

It's hard to even evaluate the performances, to be honest, because the technical aspects were soo poor.

I believe in paying for good art, so I rarely complain about ticket prices. Even though they're high, I know from experience that it costs a lot to put on a show. Still, as I sat doing some basic math in my head (this activity was more interesting than the show, at times), I found myself wondering where the money was spent on this production. It's a little offensive to pay over $20 and to see things so shabbily put together. Cords & cables draped around, messily-sheared pieces of fabric partially covering seams and openings. Rickety platforms, walls with visible seams that could be fixed in 5 minutes with dutchman. These are things I can overlook in a high school or extremely low-budget house. But NWCTS sees itself as being among the upper eschelon in this town, at least in the children's theatre milieu... so I say they need to get it together. The set, lights, seating - the whole atmoshphere needs a major makeover. And not a high-dollar one, just someone with some sensibilities and a feel for basic comfort and aesthetics to go through the space and clean things up.

'But it's just a children's theatre'. . . baloney - not with this cast, this director, and the capital they should be bringing in based on their run, house size and ticket price.

It wouldn't have taken much to take this show from the state it was in to a truly impressive display. I'm scratching my head trying to figure out why/how that didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

Was not entertained in the least. Looking at the cast list, it was hard for me not to get excited. However, from the moment the show started, I was at a loss for words. A few standout performances, but I felt the girl who played Belle was miscast, and that some of the more veteraned performers seemed to be slacking. That doesn't even begin to cover the techincal issues and weak design elements, but I won't repeat what others have said. Definitely not one of NWCT's finest, though I am rooting for their season to continue on and do well despite board member drama and such.

Anonymous said...

I too was extremely disappointed in the design elements (you'd think of all the shows out there, this would be one to really inspire a design) which were are fairly bland to the performances (though I did think Isaac Lamb was quite good as Gaston and Kristi Foster was a lovely Mrs. Potts) as well as the direction and choreography. The pacing was deathly slow all the way through and the choreography was boring (except for the Gaston number, but that may have been more due to Mr. Lamb than to Sharon Miller's choreography). Really too bad after starting off so well with The Witches. But I hear this was the most succesful show (box office-wise) in there 14 year history, so I guess more power to them.

I've also heard that negotiations are going well for them with the building's board to get a lease on the whole building which would mean they could finally begin to implement their plan to renovate the theater (new dressing rooms, new stage, new seats, everything). They've had plans for it sitting around for 6 or 7 years now but haven't been able to do anything with them because they do not own the building (they only lease the theater and their offices). I know they've already had new wings built and they got a new sound system for this show, so one can only hope the improvements will continue and we won't have to be sitting in those pews much longer.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who truly enjoyed it? Sure, there were little problems, but can't you look at the overall picture and see that so much work was put into it ALREADY, even without those details being fixed up? And think of all the kids that enjoyed seeing the show. Isn't it more important to touch little kids' lives than to put on perfect theater? Sure, theater shouldn't be butchered if possible; it's an art that should be preserved. But can't you see that some children loved it? And doesn't that make you happy? I looked past set design, mess-ups, and bad choreography/directing. It was a great show and I loved it.

P.S. And I believe you all must've seen one of the first shows, because I saw one of the last performances and saw really no "cords and cables draped around, messily-sheared pieces of fabric partially covering seams and openings," etc. It was pretty much a perfect performance, with practically no mistakes.

Anonymous said...

I don't find this site to be about whether or not we enjoy something -- hell, I've *enjoyed* almost everything I've seen. But that shouldn't necessarily alter the discussion of things that worked and those that didn't. Even for shows that were very successful, there's always the question of why did that work? why didn't that work? how could we have made that even better?

(not to mention that the last poster's promoting B&B sound awfully alike the recent one criticizing Aladdin .... another show where kiddies in the audience seemed to love the show regardless of the quality of craft on the stage)

It's not about patting ourselves on the back (though that's useful from time to time) but always honing our craft, even when it starts out pretty good.

Anonymous said...

In my opinion the people "honing their craft" and actually working-- don't have the time to spend here with a bunch of "know it alls" who can do everything better than everyone in this town...like they say..."those who CAN do...and the rest sit aorund and criticize.

(before you get yer panties in a wad I know that's not really the saying)

Dan said...

There are many of us that DO and also have the confidence, stemming from our passion for bettering our art as a collective, to be able to offer usable consructive criticism that hopefully elicits further dialogue to cultivate growth.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:48: I guess since you're here not only reading, but posting, I guess that puts you in the same camp as the rest of us, eh? as in, those who can't and who just sit around and criticize others? :)

I'm with Dan on this one ...

David Loftus said...

On the other hand, it's entirely possible to say that almost no one here is a "know it all"; that nearly all of us are students, learning the craft with every project and even through these discussions. What makes me curious is why you find this exchange of ideas and opinions upsetting. Also, not all of us are able to remain as busy as others; I'm only in rehearsals for two shows right now -- just my seventh and eighth in eighteen months. And I owe the Oregonian books section a review in a couple weeks. But we do what we can. (I should also point out that while I do post to followspot anonymously at times, since I did not see either "Aladdin" or "Beauty and the Beast," this is my first post to this thread.)

Anonymous said...

Yay! NWCT announced their new season and Beauty and the Beast will be back! This will give them a chance to liven up the drabber costumes. But even with monotone costumes the performances were mostly wonderful. Mrs. Potts (Kristy now appearing in Grease) and the girl who played Babette both lit up the stage. James Peppers as the Clock fellow showed his usual impeccable comic timing. Le Fou also good, hope he returns. I was at NWCT with a theater full of people on two different nights and both nights were filled with laughter and applause. Children and adults loved it. Gaston (Isaac Lamb) managed a perfect blend of bad guy and buffoon. Corey Brunish was a sweet, hilarious Lumiere. Several very good dancers. Maybe could make the Be Our Guest an even bigger number? Can't wait to see it again and take my visiting nieces and nephews this time. The rest of the NWCT season looks good too -- lots of music. I wish Blue Monkey luck (will John follow the lead of NWCT again this year with dueling performances?) but NWCT excels with its young singers. We hope John finds a way to improve the musical side of his plays as he develops his theater. S

Anonymous said...

The Girl who played Babette was and is Sherilyn Lawson. By far the sexiest feather duster I've ever seen! Can't wait to see it all again. Definitely need to fix the Beast's Make up!!

Anonymous said...

Why hasn't anybody mentioned Marissa Ryder? She's got an astounding soprano voice, and her charm easily comes through.