Theatre Mirror Reviews - "The Churchyard Motel"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Carl A. Rossi


"THE CHURCHYARD MOTEL"

libretto by Marc Frost
music and lyrics by Marie-France McDonald
directed by Marc Frost

Annette … Ann Moffett
Trixie the Tramp … Claire McKeown
Anthony … Christopher Babayan
Big Sher … Elizabeth Brunette
Andre … Patrick Dorion
Jake … Vincent C. Morreale
Ivan … Dan Balkin
Janie … Amanda Kelly

Ensemble:

Kara Dunn; Alexander Hauck; John King;
Jennifer Reagan; Christopher ‘Devon’ Tam

Accompanist … Marie-France MacDonald

A theatre critic must be parental towards companies founded and staffed by young artists; he must encourage them and help to guide their footsteps --- his criticism will sting only in proportion to how professional these artists want to become and whether or not they take his comments to heart. That said, I caught the closing performance of Marc Frost’s THE CHURCHYARD MOTEL, performed by Mr. Frost’s new company The Flying Lings: Mr. Frost sketched a Brechtian tale about a street-orphan turning a church graveyard into a hotel for the homeless en route to finding her mother and her Prince Charming; Kurt Weill-type songs were inserted by local composer Marie-France MacDonald. Mr. Frost’s vision hung together for the most part and Ms. MacDonald’s score was clever and tuneful, enough, but the Ling production all but sunk THE CHURCHYARD MOTEL with actors who could neither move nor sing acceptably (some were out-and-out flat, vocally) and I am saddened that many of tomorrow’s actors are coming out of colleges so untrained in body and voice but seeking the spotlight, all the same --- if the Lings and their fellow companies have the energy and finances to learn their craft show by show, then I wish them all well but theirs will be an uphill apprenticeship.

There is promise, though: Ann Moffett as the orphan was a beguiling presence, Christopher Babayan as her Prince had the cuddly good looks and charm of a trained bear, and Patrick Dorion and Vincent C. Morreale did some amusing shtick as two political aides. Mr. Frost himself contributed the most exciting moment of the evening by leaping, John Wilkes Booth-like, from the balcony onto the stage to take an unplanned curtain call --- this is a young company, all right.

"The Churchyard Motel" (25 May - 3 June)
THE FLYING LINGS
Cambridge Family YMCA Theatre, 820 Massachusetts Avenue, CAMBRIDGE, MA
1 (866) 811-4111

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England’s LIVE Theater Guide

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