Tuesday, July 28, 2009

partial review of *Dames at Sea*

at CdA Summer Theater through Sunday, Aug. 2
(This is about one-third of the review to appear in the July 30 Inlander.)

... the show’s plot isn’t worth a plugged nickel. The ingénue wants to be a star. She and the leading man (a sailor-songwriter) meet cute. The jealousy of the leading lady is aroused. Somebody's dismantling the theater (literally). So hey, kids, let's put on a show — on the deck of the sailor's battleship!
Dames at Sea amounts to a variety show: There will be a cutesy love duet, and a plaintive-love solo, and a parody of youthful desire played out by the old wrinkled couple, and some flash-bang tap-dance displays, and that number where the guy in the sailor suit twirls around the floor hugging a mop or his girl's plaid coat because she's tied up at the moment, you see, and the mop or the coat is all he's got to show us just how gosh-darn much in love he is.
Now either the romance and energy of such music-and-dance numbers is something that satisfies you and makes up for the hokeyness of a confection like Dames at Sea, or else it doesn't.
Well, it should. When Darcy Wright sings, when Cameron Lewis dances, and — maybe especially — when Travolta and (as her elder love interest) Jerry Christakos mock themselves, the goofy ways we arrived at such moments seem to fade in significance.

[ photo by Young Kwak: Cameron Lewis as Dick, Ellen Travolta as Mona, and Darcy Wright as Ruby in Roger Welch's production of Dames at Sea, Coeur d'Alene Summer Theater, July-August 2009]

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