REVIEW: DISENCHANTED! at Town Hall

by Mona Lott

Once upon a time, Dennis T. Giacino wrote a musical review centered on some Grimm Princesses with a focus on the not so “happily ever after” inner turmoil that the fairy tales glossed over. The book, music and lyrics by Giacino became known as Disenchanted and is currently playing at the Town Hall Arts Center.

The show promised to be a satirical look at the princesses we all so fondly remember and their inner feelings of discontent with their stories that we are less familiar with. The problem with Giacino’s musical is the lack of bite in the satire and the familiarity with what seems a one premise joke played out over thirteen songs.

The bite, not even sharp enough to pierce the flesh of a poison apple falls flat and never lives up to the comic potential of showcasing the nasty side of these ever so perfect female heroines. The humor never seems to cross the line or even come close to meeting it. Giacino keeps it light and never seems to go for the juguler or push the feminist viewpoint beyond a tepid chuckle to what could have been an over the top challenge of preconceived characterazations.

The show also feels unexplored in the music so relentlessly redundant in performance. The songs seem to repeat over and over  in structure, style and orchestration. Giacino seems to have settled on a one tempo belt-fest dependant on talented female voices to give it life, and in that, THAC has provided plenty of.

Director, Nick Sugar has brought together six talented power-house women who posses strong pleasing voices and comic acting ability that is wistfully, so under utilized by this rather muted show. LuAnn Buckstein as Sleeping Beauty is a standout with a comic sensability bawdy enough to elicit laughs despite the script. Partnered with Lindsay Fuller as Cinderella and Abbey McInerney as Snow White these three women make the best of the material working overtime keeping the show moving along and the energy soaring.

Rounding out the ensemble are Jona Alonzo, Faith Siobahn Ford and Anna High who bring to life the thoroughly unhappy Belle, The Little Mermaid, Mulan, Pocohontas, Princess Badroulbadour and The Princess Who Kissed a Frog. With this much talent gathered on one stage it’s a major letdown that the material only allows these ladies to hint at how formidable their talents really are.

Rarely faltering in scenic design, lighting or costuming THAC once again exceeds expectation. Scenic Designer Douglas Clarke gives us a bright red curtained proscenium reminiscent of a sophisticated dinner cabaret and it’s expertly illuminated by lighting designer, Kate Bashore. Linda Morken’s costumes are easily recognizable as the iconic looks so familiar with these princesses and director Nick Sugar’s staging is crisp and never stagnant though the choreography seems a bit uninspired. It’s also a great pleasure to have Music Director, Donna Kolpan Debreceni back onstage leading Sean Case and Scott Allen Smith in expert LIVE accompaniment.

With Disenchanted, Town Hall lives up to its reputation of award winning execution of musical theater. With so much talent, professional expertise and experienced abilities, THAC can easily live happily ever after with material that fares better than the lackluster, Disenchanted.

Town Hall is enchanting audiences with DISENCHANTED! playing now through February 9th. For tickets or more information, contact the Town Hall Arts Center box office by calling 303-794-2787 or online at townhallartscenter.org In a continuing effort to make plays at Town Hall Arts Center accessible to all, ten value seats at $10 each will be made available on a first-come-first-served basis one-hour prior to each published curtain time. 

 

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