Review Friday: Openings at 5th, Taproot, Seattle Public

The plays opening last week had some “backstage” stories as well – 5th Ave brings a touring production of Intiman’s soon-to-be-ex Artistic Director Bartlett Sher and Taproot opens their doors after extensive renovation.

  • After winning 7 Tony Awards in 2008, The South Pacific tour finally hits Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre.  Does it live up to the hype?  The reviewers for the most part say yes.  “Sher found exactly what South Pacific wants to be and gave it wings,” writes Brendan Kiley, “For big Broadway shows, it doesn’t get much better.” Kevin Phinney writes in the Seattle Weekly “Many fans of the musical consider this the pinnacle of the form. If that’s so, then this South Pacific may well be the pride of the fleet.”  There were a few let down by the hype; while they enjoyed the direction and acting, they weren’t so impressed with the old story.  Seth Kolloen writes in the SunBreak “This Rodgers & Hammerstein so-called classic about love in World War II hasn’t aged well” while Jay Irwin calls it “good but not great.”

    South Pacific at 5th Avenue

    South Pacific at 5th Avenue Theatre

  • Taproot‘s first 2010 show, C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce also received mixed reviews.  Jerry Kraft writes on “I really wish I could have loved and admired this production as much as I love and admire this theater company” while Kenna Kettrick disagrees saying “the caliber of theater offered by Taproot remains high.”  John Levesque at the P-I was more sold on the renovations than the play; “half the fun is seeing Taproot’s shiny new space: sheer heaven.”
  • While we’re discussing three-word, four-syllable plays opening this week, we should mention The Violet Hour at Seattle Public Theatre.  Jerry Kraft says it’s a “beautiful, touching and imaginative play and Seattle Public Theatre has given it an excellent production.” Margaret Friedman says they are not quite able to replicate the difficult pacing needed to pull off performing this show: “Judging from two early performances, Seattle Public Theater is close, but not quite there yet.”
  • Over at ArtsWest, Love Song opened to some good reviews; the Seattle Weekly says it’s “an incredibly sharp, engaging, and witty script, and uniformly well-acted.”
  • The Stranger saw both plays at the Annex, saying Alecto: Issue #1 is a “complex joyride” while their late night show Penguins Episode II “is even filthier than episode one” (that’s a good thing.)

Also a few more reviews for Balagan Theatre‘s Edmond (“Haunting, Fabulous”), Village‘s Lost in Yonkers (“holds up well”), RENT at Tacoma Musical Playhouse (“the acting and the music are stunning, sad, uplifting and transformative”), and Sound Theatre Company‘s The Belle of Amherst (“a simple visit with an extraordinary woman.”)

Check it all out and add your own reviews at!

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