Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Man of La Mancha"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents Copyright 2007 Terry Seldon Calhoun

"Man of La Mancha"

Reviewed by Terry Seldon Calhoun

He or she who hesitates is lost so hurry to see Man of LaMancha before The Lyric Stage Company closes its run tomorrow at 140 Clarendon Street, Boston.

Director Spiro Veloudos has again worked miracles in his latest intimate theater venture but his words last night to me as we reminisced about the first production rang as true as the lyrics and theme of this show. There hadn't been a production in too long and he's always loved the work.

I consider myself one of the privileged few to have viewed that first off off Broadway production starring Richard Kiley and other names modern viewers may not recall, Ray Middleton, Joan Diener and Robert Rounseville. It was in a tiny Greenwich village theater in the round in New York City. I literally caught the sweat off Quixote's performance.

One of my favorite relatives, my always elegant Aunt Grace, took me to the previews as they experimented before the actual show. I was a mere fifth grader. She resembled, and still does at almost ninety, Loretta Young, turbaned and chic.

She always introduced me to everything I loved, theater, fashion, you name it, in gloves that reached her elbows. Her tastes, wide ranging and varied, were as eclectic as the spots she took us, me trailing in awe, hungry for each and every experience, savoring every drop, remembering its taste.

The raw power and poignancy has kept Don Quixote popular since the 1600's, almost as long as some of Shakespeare's plays, but there are too few revivals and they are as prized as rare pearls.

Christopher Chew does an admirable job with his nuanced vocal interpretations translated into body language. The character Robert Saoud plays in squire Sancho when he sings his response to why he remains with a besotted, deluded, madcap adventurer in the words "I like him" could equally pertain to him as well as his character.

I was very struck choreography of the Little Bird songs, beating and rape of Aldonza/Dulcinea, the voices of the muleteers, Padre, Duke/Doctor. The good natured humor of the innkeeper and his wife rang true as ever.

Essentially this is a small stage theater production where the sets and cast have to be quick, talented and versatile as is usual with all Lyric Stage Productions. There is theater alive and well outside the larger venues. I prize all the smaller troupes and imagine them like Shakespeare's own companies.

So hurry, hurry, hurry. Alas if you're too late for Don Quixote's Impossible Dream, don't fail to catch the next production. That's a Possible Dream.

"Man of La Mancha" (7 September - 13 October)
140 Clarendon Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 585-5678

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide