Details Get In The Way

Another Respectably Good Show For Which I Lack Enthusiasm

Nov. 19, 2011
Google plus Linkedin Pinterest

I love theatre . . . I wouldn’t be reviewing shows if I didn’t. I go out with every intention of enjoying a show, but sometimes going out on a Saturday night feels more like work. And . . . as was the case with Next Act’s production of Sylvia . . . there really isn’t anything about the show that I specifically disliked. A.R. Gurney’s story of a man who takes-in a dog named Sylvia is fun, light comedy. Next Act lives up to its high standards of quality. There’s a largely good cast. But there were all kinds of little details that kept me from having a good time. So while there was nothing specifically wrong with it, I didn’t love it.

A.R. Gurney’s script gets into the psychology behind the love of pets in general and dogs in particular. The thing is . . . I haven’t been able to find much insight in the script beyond the obvious, surface-level stuff. Having seen it once in a previous production, I didn’t find much here to enjoy again. I don’t particularly like dogs, though I don’t particularly dislike them, so that might be part of the problem. If you love dogs, you will love this show. You may even want to see it more than once . . . it’s fun. The first production of Sylvia I saw at the Sunset Playhouse. It was fun . . . but I haven’t really had that much fun with it since.

Not that the cast wasn’t good here . . . I guess the appeal in seeing ahuman play a dog kind of lost its novelty for me after the first production I’d seen. And the set is beautiful ad everything, but . . . this is a show quite firmly rooted in New York . . . in places the script is VERY very New York. And the set has this really beautifully abstract skyline behind it, but the blocky colors mixed for me in a way that was very, very reminiscent of the American Southwest . . .which was really kind of weird for me . . . because here we’ve got Ryan Schabach putting in a fun, iconic performance as a guy with a deep accent out of New York and I’m looking at the blocky colors in the skyline and all I can think of is Albuquerque. We’re supposed to be in an urban park and all I can think of is the mesa . . . which is really disorienting. And little details like that keep me from enjoying what really is a very solid production of a fun show. If you love dogs and you haven’t seen it, don’t let my hang-ups keep you away . . . but sometimes its hard to be as enthusiastic in a theatre review as a show probably deserves . . .

 

Next Act’s production of Sylvia runs through December 18th. For ticket reservations, call 414-278-0765. A generally positive review of the show runs in the next Shepherd-Express.

 

Poll

The U.S. Supreme Court announced that it will hear the case to determine if Wisconsin Republicans’ redistricting maps are too partisan. Do you believe the U.S. Supreme Court will order Wisconsin to redraw our legislative maps so the majority of legislative districts are competitive and voters will actually have a real choice between a Democrat and Republican?

Getting poll results. Please wait...