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Gurney's "Sylvia," probably the most widelyloved show ahead off Broadway since "The Sound of Music," isn't really about dogs, doglovers or dogloverlovers, though those three characters are the core from the play. It's really down to how people respond when confronted by the unexpected. New Yorker Greg, inside the throes of midlife blahs, adopts a rowdy mutt Sylvia or maybe she adopts him after encountering him on the park. Greg's wife, Kate, can not advance her career, just isn't warm on the notion of keeping a huge dog in a city apartment but, more critically, senses that Sylvia fills a need in Greg which she cannot, thereby tossing her life into crisis.
But the drama is presented as comedy, along with the audience laughed readily and repeatedly Friday night at Cyrano's. Gurney's lines remain uproarious, particularly when delivered as dialogue between man and dog.
Teresa Pond's direction keeps the experience sparkling, however the production seems less heartfelt and spontaneous as opposed to original Cyrano's staging of 11 in the past. If could be that Pond didn't have the main benefit of the talent available to Bostin Christopher in 1997.
Memory could be faulty, and the newness with the play doubtlessly brought its own excitement a while ago. But Christopher's key trio of David Hayes, Annie Stokes with an exquisitely energetic Shanwne Albright from the title role were described in the Daily News review during the time as "one of the most effective ensembles noticed in Anchorage within a long while" before or ever since i might add. The playwright, who expressed reservations when told although see his play on the Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez later that year ended up praising this cast as add up to any he'd affecting the parts.
Angela Vice's Sylvia is physically convincing and attitudinally on the right track, but she doesn't always have the dogly faces that Albright sold the function. Ed Bourgeois likewise carries negligence Greg correctly, but he's not the mensch, the everyman, that we recall Haynes projecting. Part of the problem may be he plays the character with plenty of a beard that his recognizable facial expressions are restricted to movements of his eyebrows.
The stiffness on this pair maybe as a result of opening night tensions, though I do think all of them are veterans is shared through the Kate, Julia Cossman, in whom you find little softness, a characteristic Stokes discovered in the script and useful to turn out a sympathetic character that infused the complete entertainment which has a believability that was, on reflection, astonishing, especially given that it is more about a talking dog.
Just what the current three obtain the initial trio lacked is a useful one singing voices, essential in a vital first act scene whenever they sing "Everytime We are Goodbye." Only Stokes could hit a pitch in 1997; another voices were notable for his or her silliness over their musicality.
The fourth actor, Mark Robokoff, plays three incidental roles with aplomb. His handle Tom, a fellow pet owner, is strikingly distinct from Peter Ruocco's version 11 in the past, more masculine, weightier. In the drag role of Kate's friend, I apparently recall Ruocco as smoother and funnier. But Robokoff's overthetop newage therapist is a fresh surprise.
It's hard not to compare the 2 productions for the downside of the present show. But people that haven't yet seen this contemporary fable and most who've will nonetheless enjoy the tale, the jokes, the antics as well as the whole concept of human/animal relationships. Just isn't possible never to check this out play and think about one or more dogs you've got known; Gurney's aim was accurate as he came up with his subject. The first night sold-out and, in the dogcrazy town like Anchorage, there is not any reason why all of those other run won't, too. Thurs. Sat. Sun. at Cyrano's Off Center Playhouse, 413 D. St. Tickets are $17.50.
I seriously enjoyed my night in the theatre after i saw Sylvia last week!
Mr. Dunham, I look forward to reading your reviews and frequently view them as accurate and onthemark, even if which means that they were not positive. I can't think reviews should invariably be positive b/c sometimes people missthemark, myself included. When that develops, as an amateur actor which is all all of us will be in this town (unless there's some secret meetings of Actors Equity occurring i havenrrrt heard of) then as a possible actor, you handle your bruised ego.
That being said Sir, I felt it was unfair to the current cast of Sylvia that compares these phones the Sylvia cast of 11 in years past. I might have liked to see a review that took this cast to work for their particular successes as well as their shortcomings. That might have been a good review.
However, I possibly could not review this show without bias myself, when i have directed or worked directly with several from the cast and i also simply adore Sandy, i really will not offer a detailed one here.
I realize, from personally go through the personal and financial costs of placing a show. Nobody I am aware with this town has created a bunch of money on it, even if it had been a roaring success. Perform it b/c we like it. We all do it b/c we want to hand back towards the community within our own way. Minimal, In my opinion, most of us should be expecting shall be reviewed fairly.
I'd like to remind ADN reviewers (the paid kind which are assigned a show) that they can should take their job of reviewing a show very seriously. It's not just as a consequence of actor egos, which I may be the first to admit can't ever really be satisfied, but b/c you'll find real world financial losses for people involved. An unfair review, while unfortunate to the actors, may be devastating for that producers (who more than likely are only looking to break even).
That's not me suggesting that there should not be negative reviews. In case a show sucks, by a unique merit, then yes it should be taken up task in writing.
But ADN reviewers should enter that darkened room with full knowledge of their particular biases in addition to their own ego cheap their review can impact box office sales.
Thanks for this forum to respond!
Wow! within a town paper whose reveiws are often either effusive or simple synopsis of the items was seen this review seems harsh. As someone who has look at play had but never witnessed it (not area of the elite art scene of old) I had fun a week ago. Time passes to almost whatever occurs stage in this town and also this play was obviously a standout, I was thoroughly entertained for that duration. Within the show the real stars to me were Angela Vice as Sylva and whoever designed the set, it was too cool, accomplishing a great deal in a small space. We have already recomended the show a number of people.
We never laughed so difficult! Saturday night, Angela Vice was amazing in their own caricature of that lovable, feisty dog, Sylvia. We're able to see our dog in her moves. Ed Bourgeois held our attention, since we might relate. His chemistry with Julia Cossman, as Kate, and also Cossman's acting, helped us. And, we presume Mark Robokoff performed the cruel feat of three distinct characters. Congratulations all! Done well Teresa Pond! We laughed hysterically, and now we were convinced. Appreciate a most fun evening!
It's understandable that you have destined to be reviews of shows, in addition to being reviews are opinions, nobody will probably agree with every review totally. It really is truley unfortunate that this person provided for review a perfomance was such an avid fan with the first show that he came in rich in expectations. ie: Had me standing and clapping the moment the lights came out.
This would have been a very moving performance to this particular particular reviewer plus it have to have hit home in several ways to still talk to him after 11 years which he would remember it so vividly which he had the complete cast memorized in the mind. I believe from the furture although it would be great to see someone go ahead with a performance that they're reviewing with out relating it to a reveal that they saw during the past. I am still very excited to view the show. Irrrve never scene the show before and haing no preconsceived notin products it is about, We are looking forward to some very nice theater from a very talented pool of folks.
I, too, am disappointed to determine a lot time used on comparison to the production that occurred 11 years back. I saw Christopher's production in 1997 and loved it. However, I was prepared to proceed to see what this cast, director, and crew of designers been in store. Things i saw was a fantastic production completely worthy of the standing ovation it received on Saturday night.
And i also think it is a little bit condescending to suggest how the play is not actually about dogs, or people that love dogs. The pet/human relationship is often a unique and heartbreaking one (even as we choose to enter these relationships knowing we have been most likely to live our pets.) This is simply not only a metaphor, but a reality for most.
Passionate Beagle Owner (and fellow artsnob!)
I appreciate raising the issue of whether it's correct to compare the current "Sylvia" with all the first Anchorage production. Admittedly, this kind of comparison wouldn't always be relevant. Nevertheless the 1997 version remains a high water mark in recent local theatrical history: sold out, extended, reprised, given to high praise through the playwright himself. In choosing to revisit the script, the producers automatically invite a real comparison and, as among the many who nearly elevated beyond my seat as soon as the lights emerged and didn't settle down until it had been over, I'm mighty very happy to do this.
Of course, mine is not the only opinion on the market, so in retrospect we have this comment section. Fire away!
I attended opening evening of "Sylvia" and couldn't disagree with Mike Dunham more. I thoroughly enjoyed the show and was very touched my Ed's performance. Angela made me laugh out loud within about every scene and Mark gave splendid performances as three different characters. I enjoyed the set and that i even enjoyed the sound, a chunk I would not often prize. I can only hope this ridiculous review is not going to deter people from attending an excellent (and funny) show. The "Sylvia" of over a decade ago isn't strongly related this production. Honestly, I believe the reviewer ought to be ashamed.
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