Talkin' Broadway Regional News & Reviews: San Francisco - Oregon Shakespeare Festival - 10/1/06
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San Francisco by Richard Connema

Oregon Shakespeare Winding Down Its 2006 Season Part 4

Also see Richard's review of Orson's Shadow, plus the 2006 OSF Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival also salutes classical works of playwrights other than Shakespeare by presenting a first rate presentation of David Edgar's Dr. Jekyll and Mr.Hyde and a superb production of Edward Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac (translated and adapted by Anthony Burgess). Also, the Oregon Cabaret is presenting the hilarious antics of Seattle's favorite comedienne Lisa Koch.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Laura Morache and James Newcomb
I first saw David Edgar's Dr. Jekyll and Mr, Hyde at the Barbican Theatre in London in 1991. At that time the playwright used two actors (Roger Allam and Simon Russell Beale) to portray the dual personality of Dr. Jekyll. The drama was revised by the Birmingham Repertory Company in 1996 with David Schofield playing both characters.

The Oregon Shakespeare Company is using the 1996 revision with an amazing performance by James Newcomb in both roles. The current OSF production is more metaphysical than the London production. This production delves into something deeper and more sinister, especially in the conversations of the gentlemen in the first scenes of the play. Even the lovely domestic scene between Dr. Jekyll and his sister Katherine (Vilma Silva) hints that something threatening might be coming.

Director Penny Metropulos has assembled an outstanding cast to present this extraordinary production. James Newcomb portrays Hyde as an enthusiastic child with grown-up urges as he prances around the stage venting his animal energy in terrifying peals of drained laugher. Vilma Silva is splendid as his sister when she informs the audience about their deceased father. She becomes the catalyst of the drama when she tells Dr. Jekyll that he resembles his father, a "fiend in human form." Laura Morache is very good as the street smart parlor maid Anne Loder. Kelly Curran and Jeris Schaefer provide some lighthearted relief as the daughter and son of the sister. All of the players are excellent in their roles.

William Bloodgood's set is very imposing. Daunting and gloomy, it depicts the scary alleys of gas lit London with a wonderful flexibility that allows for multiple interiors. The costumes by Deborah Dryden are Victorian eye-catching outfits.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is playing at the indoor Angus Bowmer Theatre through October 28th. Call 541-482-4331 or visit www.osfashland.org for tickets.

Photo: Jenny Graham


Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac
Robin Goodrin Nordli and
Marco Barricelli

The hit of the season will undoubtedly be Edmond Rostand's 1897 epic, with Marco Barricelli giving one of the greatest performances of his long theatrical career. You know something momentous will happen when Cyrano comes striding into a syrupy performance of Clorise to drive Montfleury, a real ham actor, off the stage.

Director Laird Williamson fills the stage with great passion. He makes 17th century Paris an exciting city on stage. He fills the scenes with smoke and fog, especially in the big battle scene at the siege of Arras in the third act. There is moonlit magic in the second act when dimwitted Christian (Rex Young) attempts to woo the beautiful Roxane (Robin Goodryn Nordi) with the words of Cyrano (Barricelli) hiding in the shadows.

Barricelli pulls this show together with his tour de force acting chops. The former American Conservatory Theatre core actor is incredible on stage, with the size and resistance to carry off an epic role of this scope. His voce rings out through the amphitheater in clear, powerful tones. He is sharp, droll and heartwrenching without ever being sappy. It is a performance for the ages. His dueling scene with Valvert (James Newcomb) as he improvises a narrative poem is ferociously funny. Even the comical scene when Cyrano delays the reptilian Count de Guiche (Derrick Lee Weeden) by pretending to be a lunatic who has just dropped to Earth from the moon is mesmerizing.

Robin Goodryn Nordli plays Roxane with skillful compassion, especially in the last act when she realizes that she loves the man with the big nose. Derrick Lee Weeden is convincing as the scheming Count de Guiche. Rex Young makes a perfect Christian with his witless love talk and naivety of the ways of the world. Robert Vincent Frank is charming and amusing as the Prince of Pastry Cooks, a would be poet.

William Bloodgood's set is simple but descriptive, especially during the siege of Arras. The costumes are realistic 17th century attire. The play runs three and one half hours but it never drags.

Cyrano De Bergerac runs through October 7th at the outdoor Elizabethan Theatre Tickets can be obtained by calling 541-482-4331 or online at www.osfashland.org.

Photo: T. Charles Erickson


Return to the Planet Lisa

Lisa Koch is currently presenting her hilarious one woman show at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre. There is a mix of Bette Midler, a healthy dose of Carol Burnett and a smattering of Karen Carpenter in her entertaining two-hour show. Ms. Koch is well known in the Northwest for her antics on stage. This amazing performer is supported by two wonderful actors, Darcy Danielson and Jim Malachi, in eight side-splitting scenes.

Lisa opens the show playing alterative lifestyle "83 Moons, dressed as an aging hippy selling veggies at a stand. She tells the audience "I run out of lettuce but take my leeks," and sings such original songs as the global warming themed "Oh Boy It Is Hot," the naughty "Eunice the Unicorn" to the tune of "Puff the Magic Dragon," ending with "Sister Song," embracing all of the females in the audience.

Other hilarious characters include Blind Enid Bailey, a 90-year-old blind woman working as a security agent at the Medford airport, and Sister Mary Agnus Bowmer with an audience-participation gig doing "Shakespeare for Dummies." She appears as herself singing her own songs, such as "Middle Aged Woman," which is about hot flashes, and "Beaver Cleaver Fever."

Lisa opens the second act as a lounge singer at the Rogue Valley Mall with Darcy Danielson at the piano. She tells the audience she is happy that Darcy has just gotten out of the hospital where she had a gall bladder operation. Darcy still has the pole and bag of fluid attached to her. Darcy also does a hilarious gig called "Thank You for the Music," dedicated to her piano teacher, that is side splitting.

Lisa comes back in drag looking like George W. Bush at a local town meeting in a bit that is uproarious, and the set ends with the three artists playing the Butte Falls Gay Men's Chorus (the only gay people in the Oregon small town). This is a highly entertaining show.

Oregon Cabaret's show next production is Cindy Rella opening on November 17 and running through December 31. The Box Office number is 541-488-2902 or go to www.oregoncabaret.com for more information.


Cheers - and be sure to Check the lineup of great shows this season in the San Francisco area

- Richard Connema



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