Under the Yum-Yum tree

An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan

Conceived and directed by Judith Jarosz
Music direction by Allan Greene
Theatre 1010
1010 Park Ave. (288-3246, ext. 3)
Equity showcase (closes May 27)
Review by Julie Halpern

Theatre 1010's current production, An Evening with Gilbert and Sullivan, offered a breezy, light-hearted evening full of toe-tapping melodies and fun to spare. The stuffy, mannered, performances many associate with Gilbert and Sullivan were replaced by attractive, engaging singer-actors and a director more in tune with pleasing the audience than maintaining the stilted conventions of the past. The music was sung legitly, and aside from occasional contemporary references the winning ensemble would please even the most finicky G&S aficionado. Selections from HMS Pinafore, Pirates of Penzance, Iolanthe, and The Mikado were infused with charm and energy. Judith Jarosz, the company's artistic director, well-known for her own fine acting and singing, added another feather to her cap, creating and directing the fast-paced revue.

Aboard the HMS Pinafore, Deborah Stein's Buttercup, Leah Horowitz's Josephine, Greg Horton's Captain, and Jason Wynn's Ralph set the fun-loving tone. Steve Aron joined the festivities in the Pirates segment as a hilariously bumbling Major General, winning over the audience with the famous patter song "I am the very model of a modern major general." Horton was an athletic, sexy Pirate King with a huge, luscious voice, and Stein a warm-voiced, totally lovable Ruth. Horowitz was a lovely and sympathetic Mabel, but her large, well-produced voice lacked the warmth and nuance of her acting in the fiendishly difficult aria "Poor Wandering One." Wynn was a handsome, boyish Frederick with a lovely tenor voice. The chorus of maidens were colorful puppets designed at the Henson Company.

The Iolanthe segment was the weakest. "We are dainty little fairies..." was much too cute, with the men pirouetting about in tutus, but Stein's luxuriant singing as Iolanthe made everything worthwhile. The Mikado segment was the most successful, with Aron's dithering Koko, Horowitz's beautifully sung Yum-Yum, and Stein's exceptional Katisha the highlights of the evening. Music director Allan Greene, violinist Juliana Boehm, and stage manager Allen Hale also contributed brief but memorable cameos.

The orchestra played beautifully, donning hats and costumes appropriate to each segment. The costumes by Sandra King were colorful and flattering, and Kari Martin's simple set was bright and easy to navigate. The audience was seated on the stage, which interfered with esthetic distance. The ungelled lights were harsh and glaring against the bright set.

Box Score:

Writing: 2
Directing: 2
Acting: 2
Set: 1
Costumes: 2
Lighting/Sound: 1

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Copyright 2001 Julie Halpern