I took a long overdue personal day (show) off yesterday from my musical. After a deeeelicious dinner at Roberto in midtown, Scott and I headed off to see The Three Penny Opera.
While there were definitely parts/scenes that amused me, overall this production fell flat. I left the theatre not quite sure how I felt about the production overall. Having slept on it, I can now say that my biggest problem with this production is most likely the book. The original script is very sarcastic and biting. The new adaptation completely loses this bite and wit, and when they suddenly attempt to add a few moments of dialog in this vein, it almost appears out of place within the context of this new adaptation. Too little, too late. As an added note, the finale was a huge let down, and staged just like Seasons of Love from Rent. Give me a break people, this is supposed to be a thinking musical!
All book issues aside, there were glittering performances given by a few of the headliners. Jim Dale was delightful as Mr. Peachum; his loose limbed, scarecrow like Act II rendition of The song of Inadequancy of Human Striving was a favorite moment for me personally. Alan Cumming was equally delightful as Macheath, showing his acting and musical chops; and being one of the few performers who actually appeared to be IN the scene, instead of being led around by it. Ana Gasteryer gave a solid vocal performance as Mrs. Peachum and Cyndi Lauper was almost adequate in the roll of Jenny. Poor Ms Nellie McKay was obviously the weak link in this production; her out of control virbrato was rounded out by an devastatingly flat dramatic performance. It made me ponder if Sarah Brightman could have given a more varied dramatic performance in this role. Yes, really.
Isaac Mizrahi should stick to fashion and forego designing costumes for broadway. The overall look of 3 penny is not to be crisp and clean. This is a story about beggers, thieves, and whores. I believe he missed the mark by having Ms Peachum dressed in a pink glittery Gucci knock off business suit, and Mr Peachum in a blue suit, however ill-fitted (please tell me that was a choice) will never sit right with my personal tastes. His treatment of the chorus costumes was slightly less offensive, although it failed to capture the poverty and repression of the original plot. Overall his work would have been much better billed as a tacky night out at the Roxy.
I was delighted to have the night off from my show, and I'm equally pleased that I got to see Alan do this piece. I wouldn't pay full price (or even half price) to see it again. Perhaps with a stronger director, this new adaptation would have come off Slightly better.
Until the next time
Love and Light