Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Carnival"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


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entire contents copyright 1997 by Larry Stark


Carnival!

Music and Lyrics by Bob Merrill
Book by Michael Stewart, based on material by Helen Deutsch
Directed and Choreographed by Lora Chase
Choreographer George McCarthy
Musical Direction by Fred Frabotta Sets Designed by Ronald L. Dion
Costumes designed by Richard Itczak
Lighting Designed by Marc Olivere
Sound Designed by William Brinkert
Puppets by Ron Dion & Bobsie Mitton
Stage Manager Tina Zola

B. F. Schlegel..........................David W. Frank
The Incomparable Roasalie...........Susan Walsh
Marco The Magnificent.......Juan Luis Acevedo
Jacquot...........................................Chris Porth
Paul.................................Timothy J. Fitzgerald
Lili................................................Donna Parry
Dr. Glass..........................................Ray Vaudo
THE COMPANY
Peter E. Allen, Dan Masden, Jeff McNeil, Jill McNeil, Gary Ryan,
Pauline Marie, Marci Smith, Britta Elisabeth Priest, Lorraine Burgos,
Chrisitine freeman, Lynda D'Amour, Kristie Krabe
CHILDREN
Jacob Aaron, Emma Kynoch, Joanna Lovett, Stephanie Shapero,
Scott Chaloff, Rachel Katz, Jennifer Leland, Audrey C. White

Keyboard...............................................................Fred Frabotta
Clarinet/Flute.........................................................Jacob Bendor
Trumpet/Horn........................Harlan Feinstein, Susan Margolies
Percussion...............................................................Ric k Hansen
Bass.......................................Michael Johnson, David Weisman


The Turtle Lane Playhouse must have been built for just such a show as "Carnival". It's a family theater, with old familiar faces on the stage and in the house along with kids seeing, or playing in, their first live productions --- and a cozy pub on the premises where old friends from both sides of the footlights can meet before a rehearsal or after the show.

"Carnival" fills that big square stage with all the joyous fakery of show-business, the onstage star-turns as well as the human conflicts in the wings. It's a show about believing in magic, even when you learn how the tricks are done. And it's a small show --- with hand-puppets at its core --- a show often as small as the radiant, believing smile of Donna Parry as Lili falling in love with the theater's make-believe, and finding it part of Timothy J. Fitzgerald's Paul --- a crippled ex-dancer who now can only make puppets dance.

In this playhouse, experience tells. Lora Chase, directing in her sixteenth production, knew she could rely on Susan Walsh's twenty-four previous appearances to make The Incomparable Rosalie the magician's "assistant" a solidly starring role. David W. Frank as the company's manager and Christopher Porth as Jacquot the puppetteer's assistant and the optimistic soul of the company, as well as Fitzgerald and Parry, had all been on this stage before. Only Juan Luis Acevedo as Marco The Magnificent magician and philanderer made a confident, flamboyant debut.

Threading in and out among these major speaking-parts were seventeen caparisonned dancing choristers, from stilt-walking Jill McNeil and clowning Jeff McNeil to Lynda D'Amour and Christine Freeman as separable "Siamese twins" --- as well as two teams of eager children serving as on-stage "audience" for the puppetry.

The charm of this Turtle Lane Players' performance lies in the comfortable rapport that actors and dancers have, not only with one another, but with friends out front. That's the real magic of theater.

Love,
===Anon.
( a k a larry stark)

"Carnival" (till 24 August)
TURTLE LANE PLAYHOUSE
283 Melrose Street, NEWTON
1(617)244-0169

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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