Guys and Dolls
By Frank Loesser, Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows
Beit Lessin Theater
Considered one of the greatest of all Broadway musicals, Beit Lessin's high-spirited revival of Guys and Dolls endows the musical with all the glitter and glamor, exciting dance, and brilliant orchestration one would expect. It is based on a Damon Runyon story, "The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown," featuring a romance between a straight-laced Salvation Army lass ( Liraz Charhi) and an inveterate gambler, racketeer (Guy Zu Aretz).
Performances are highly charged, especially those of Detroit (Zvika Hadar), Miss Adelaide (Maya Dagan is a veritable show-stopper in the part), a demure Sarah Brown (Liraz Charhi), Abernathy, a Salvation Army devotee (Israel Gurion gives the most outstanding vocal performance here) and the indomitable General (Ruth Holzman).
If the dramatization of the lowlife New York gambling scene does not always ring true, all the rest - Eldad Shrim with a full, live orchestra, Ken Oldfield's directing and choreography, Yossi Ben-Ari's costumes, Yehiel Orgal's lighting, and Adrian Vaux's set - makes for a dazzling show. Silks, satins and sparklers galore, and captivating dance scenes and musical effects all combine to make this show a spectacular one.
An Oak Tree
Written and directed by Tim Crouch
The Stage Centre Program
Tim Crouch, one of three English actor/creators here in Israel to participate in a workshop on "Conflict Resolution Through Art," has found time to mount his Edinburgh Festival 2005 Award winning piece, An Oak Tree, for local consumption.
The play is performed by two actors, the leading light being Crouch himself. His partner is a woman, purported to be an unprepared, unprofessional individual, carrying out Crouch's last-minute instructions ad lib.
Though the treatment is highly comic - Crouch rattles on in typical East-Ender English - the slowly emerging theme is profoundly tragic. It transpires that he, for all his glib patter, is guilty of a crime. Driving one night, he ran into an oak tree and killed a teenager called Claire. It is her mother who now collaborates with him in recalling the agonizing event.
Crouch's storytelling technique is engaging. His hypnotic exploitation of his victim's mother develops with gradual tension. But credibility fails to grow apace with the ongoing confessional. It gradually becomes apparent that his last-minute enlisted partner is by no means an untrained actress. Her presentation slowly intensifies and she finally shows herself to be a consummate professional, a revelation that damages the concept on which the play is built.
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