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Gerard, the chief U.S. drama critic for Bloomberg News, writes about several Stratford productions in this critical round up. He likes Henry V, Cymbeline, Pirates and Hirsch. He’s less fond of 42nd St. and dismisses Wanderlust as “a total misfire.” Read more about Wanderlust’s mixed reviews HERE
“Coming out of the current production of 42nd Street at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, I turned to my wife and asked: was that really as . . . guileless as it’s presenting itself to be? Because if it is, I kind of think that’s . . . good.”
Cushman adds thoughtful historical context and contemporary references, including the TV series Smash . In terms of casting, Cushman notes that Sean Arbuckle’s performance here is amongst “his best; elsewhere he’s damagingly miscast, ineradicably gentle, neither driven nor driving enough.”
Coulbourn notes the cast is excellent: “There’s Dale, of course, her glow undiminished by a half-decade absence from these stages…and for Stratford fans accustomed to seeing Arbuckle in classical mode, his sure-footed turn here is certain to be a delightful surprise.”
Nestruck addresses a few of the elephants in the room, starting with: “…your enjoyment of the evening will depend on your answer to the question Dubin poses in the song Dames: “Who cares if there’s a plot or not, when they’ve got a lot of dames?” And notes, “The casting of the Stratford production is one giant wink.”
Dale and Rider-Shaw are an excellent pair, writes Cameron singling out a scene where Dale “gives the ingénue some heartfelt advice, the two actresses share a tender moment that tugs at the heartstrings and provides a brief glimpse into the ‘behind the scenes’ lives of people who choose theatre as a career.”
“A glitzy fable of 1930s Broadway with curtain-to-curtain tap dancing, comic one-liners and pretty girls…I especially liked Kyle Blair’s brash and agile Billy Lawlor… Gabriell Jones, playing a chorus manager, also gets one of the more meaty roles and she does a fine job in the comedy section”
“Alex Sanchez’s choreography is tight, compact and high-octane, boasting sizzling tap numbers. Debra Hanson’s costumes are sexy and glamorous… Dale is glorious… Kyle Blair dances and sings up a storm as leading man Billy Lawlor… As well as looking like a young Brad Pitt, Kyle Golemba is energetic stage manager/dance captain Andy Lee.”
“As Dorothy Brock, aging musical theatre star and unhappily kept woman, Dale turned the least sympathetic role in this pasted together collection of tap routines passing itself off as a musical into the show’s true dramatic centre.”