The facility of charisma | Leisure

Final week, two very entertaining regional performances opened, each with a charismatic and weird central character who bends virtually everybody to his will.

In Auburn’s The Rev, Frank Abagnale, the legendary con man, tells his personal fantasy story in Catch Me If You Can. The 2009 musical (libretto by Terrence McNally, music by Mark Shaiman, rating by Shaiman and Scott Wittman) is predicated on the 2002 movie (directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio), itself primarily based on Abagnale’s co-written and extremely exaggerated 1980 Autobiography yr, which, in flip, was primarily based on … a number of posturing, fiction and magical reflections.

Frank imagines himself as a 15-year-old teenager, distraught by his dad and mom’ divorce, nonchalantly following his father’s recommendation to get every little thing you may earlier than the world takes it from you. Leaving his residence within the Bronx, he poses as an airline pilot, a professor, a pediatrician, and others, gleefully writing unhealthy checks alongside the best way (for $2.5 million, the actual Abagnale later acknowledged, as inaccurate as the rest). , What did he say) .

That is the 60s, after we had been maybe extra gullible. Frank charms everybody by returning their shock at his place regardless of trying so younger (“Sure, I perceive that.”) Frank’s escapades are humorous, however the chase motion is dramatic: FBI veteran Carl Hanratty is chasing Frank. stubbornly, lastly shocked, to find that his prey was “only a child!”

What’s excellent about this manufacturing is every little thing – the appearing, singing, dancing, staging, surroundings, lighting, costumes. This manufacturing, directed by Brett Smoke, is worthy of Broadway, and its high quality will certainly trigger pleasure earlier than the following efficiency of the Reverend “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.

As Frank, Ian Ward is charming, a Tom Cruise-like blond with an irresistible smile, boyish and disarming. He owns the half at each second, sings nice and is so gracious and well mannered that you just overlook he is dishonest. His obsessive tracker, Hanratty, is beautifully formed by Mike Masters. And Timothy Worman as Frank Sr., the failed father, spoils superbly earlier than our eyes. French mom Sandy Baynum is self-absorbed and eventually much less highly effective than the lads in younger Frank’s life.


Ian Ward as Frank in “Catch Me If You Can” in The Rev.

The musical’s lovely ensemble dazzles us with ’60s-inspired strikes (choreography by Richard J. Hinds) and actually pleasant interval costumes (by Tiffany Howard). Nevertheless it’s Adam Koch’s units, wildly lit by José Santiago, which can be beautiful – virtually a personality in and of itself. Skinny metallic pillars at odd angles mark an area full of transferring screens in colourful shapes, a stained-glass chapel of mid-century American tradition. And no small feat: each phrase and music is crisp due to Kevin Hurd’s sound design complementing Brian Simmett’s musical route.

Catch Me If You Can is such nice leisure that you just will not even discover that you just’re not having fun with the antics of a resourceful youngster (perhaps Frank was a teenage hacker at this time?), however watching a TV-made model of a convicted felon. People are unusual: we’re wealthy in crime tales, however we hate being the sufferer of against the law; we’re fascinated by scammers, however we hate to be deceived. And we favor the digestible misinform the brutal actuality: Abagnale himself, now 74, embittered his father within the first place; served jail phrases in america, France and Sweden; molested girls below the guise of medical examinations; stole from extraordinary individuals, not from firms; lied about every little thing, together with working with the FBI; and now allegedly earns a residing as a “doc safety guide”.

So is that this a narrative a couple of liar or an important storyteller? And what model of actuality can we demand? The devastating social price of our pursuit of tasty fiction is a matter at present explored in Minutes by Tracey Letts at New York’s Studio 54. (Look.)

A extra refined method to actuality—by way of a special type of fantasy—is obtainable in Hurricane Diane, an intimate comedy with a message at present taking part in at Ithaca’s Kitchen Theatre. The 2017 entry is written by Madeleine George, a 1996 Cornell alumnus whose play Watson’s (The Curious Case of the Mind) was a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize. This present, which closes the thirtieth season of “Kitchen”, is the primary staged right here by Inventive Director-Producer Rebecca Bradshaw.

Premise: Hoping to revive the basic golden age, Dionysus arrives within the guise of a lesbian gardener to rent 4 girls from suburban New Jersey as his maenads. Will they give you the option to withstand the decision to give up to unleashed Nature, cease the doomsday local weather clock and embrace the spirit of permaculture, thus probably saving the planet?

This god of wine (really a demigod, we’re reminded) is in search of a comeback and believes it would take at the very least 4 girls to ignite an ecstatic frenzy and entice extra followers. Should you discover that Bacchus, aka Dionysus, aka Diana, is performed by a gorgeous androgynous lady, you are proper. Jackie Rivera’s divinity is, pardon the pun, a drive of nature – dominating the stage with godlike confidence, electrical sexuality and boundless power. Irresistible for the women of the Pink Coast, and for the general public.

All of the motion takes place in a spacious, if suitably sterile, suburban kitchen that opens by way of French doorways onto a much-discussed yard panorama (set by Izmir Iqbal, a bit fussyly lit by M.E. Berry). Envisioning the thornbush, an untamed, wholly pure space, Dionysus extols the virtues of native species similar to papaya and milk vetch, forbidding, in a single remarkably comical scene, the very use of the phrase “curb attraction.”

Beth (Lindsey Brill), disoriented and alone after being deserted by her husband, it is no surprise she’s the primary to fall in love with Dionysus’ earthly spells. Pam (Melissa Miller), a chatty Italian-American who wears attractive animal prints (Chelsea Curl costumes), aggressively agrees. Essentially the most comical pas de deux is with Renée (Cynthia Henderson), a savvy shelter journal editor, who welcomes the brand new ecovision, clearly thrilled by the reminiscences of her personal lesbian previous.

Diane’s first goal proves to be essentially the most resilient to vary: Carol (Erika Steinhagen) clings to her orderly nook of actuality, her dead-end retreat, planet be damned. “What I need is what we I need it, she insists. However with their cozy bay city near Sandy Hook, storms are inevitable.

Except two overly lengthy speeches, George’s script is skillful, with all the way down to earth banter in an absurdist context. All of the actors do justice by bringing out the comedy admirably in each second. (This playfulness echoes the Schitt’s Creek recreation.) It is not clear if the play produces any local weather change, however at the very least you will not be your yard the identical approach anymore.

• Catch Me If You Can, guide by Terrence McNally, music by Mark Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman. Directed by Brett Smoke. At The Rev (Carousel Theatre), Emerson Park, Auburn. Mon-Sat till 28 June. Tickets at https://therevtheatre.com/tickets/ticketing-options/ or (315) 255-1785.

• Hurricane Diana by Madeleine George, directed by Rebecca Bradshaw. On the Kitchen Theatre, 417 W. State/MLK, Jr. St., Ithaca. Till June twenty sixth. Tickets at https://www.kitchentheatre.org/buy-tickets or name (607) 272-0570.


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