Author: gordon

MAMMA MIA! is ABBA’s dabba, quite a doo!

SALT LAKE CITY — In her director’s notes for Mamma Mia!, Patricia Wilcox wrote, “What is left to say about a show that has been seen by 60 million people in 40 countries and has been translated into 23 languages?” Indeed. The task is no easier for a reviewer. So, let me state simply that this version of Mamma Mia! is a very powerful production in every respect. For those unfamiliar with the smash hit, Mammia Mia! (with a script by Catherine Johnson) is the tale of Sophie (played by Kathryn Brunner) and her single mom, Donna, who run a taverna on a...

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NEXT FALL stumbles, thanks to a fumbling script

PROVO — Luke and Adam are a same-sex couple living together in New York City. When Luke (played by Abram Yarbro) is seriously injured, his separated parents, Butch and Arlene, arrive. There are two sets of conflicts in the play: Luke is a religious fundamentalist, while Adam is at best agnostic; the parents don’t know about their son’s sexual orientation. So, is this Next Fall about religious conflicts, or a play about sexual conflicts? Mixing the two seems to get in the way of a resolution on either count. The irresolution is not the fault of the actors, all of...

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A SISTER ACT, not a brother act

      OREM — Given the title, it’s not surprising which sex shines in the current production of Sister Act at the SCERA. And the women do shine, from the opening firebomb to the finale ensemble explosion. The thin story and the general blandness of the male actors is more than compensated for by big voices from the females, sometimes emanating from surprisingly petite bodies. The story in Cheri Steinkellner and Bill Steinkellner‘s script is quickly told: In Philadelphia, star-struck Deloris Van Cartier (played by Becca Rose), witnesses a murder committed by her gangster boyfriend and manager (played by...

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THE MEMORY OF WATER invites reflection

SALT LAKE CITY — “Speak, Memory.” Vladimir Nabokov chose that phrase as the title of his autobiography. He actually wanted to use “Mnemosyne” for the Greek goddess of memory, but his editors wouldn’t let him. Of course, I relate that factoid from memory, meaning it is quite likely to be wrong, as Shelagh Stephenson’s The Memory of Water demonstrates. Psychologists rank the loss of a parent as among the most traumatic events in a person’s life. The shock is less for adult children, but still significant. Stephenson uses that trauma to explore the nature of memory and family structures. In...

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All EARNEST challenges met in West Jordan

WEST JORDAN — The challenge in presenting an iconic piece like Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest is that everyone knows it, everyone has seen it, and each person has their favorite production, against which a new one must compete. For me, the new Sugar Factory Playhouse production met every challenge, setting the bar for which future community theater Earnests will have to vie. Director Kristen Hickman met the challenges head-on and successfully. That action involves two young men-about-town facing the social obligations of town and country in Victorian England, and their use of invented figures to make it easy...

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