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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Starting My Theatre Year Off with Mack & Mabel and the Plain Janes...

This past Saturday I met up with my good friend Catherine (@catherooni) for some poutine at The Next Act and my first theatre outing of the new year.   It was a great start - good company, great food and a very entertaining production. Mack and Mabel is the musical tale of the ill-fated romance between Hollywood director, Mack Sennett and waitress turned starlet, Mabel Normand. Set in the roaring 20’s when silent film was the rage and pratfalls and pies throwing were a plenty it follows their relationship in movie-making and their own kind of romance.  It also kicked off the Plain Jane's Concert series.  Directed by Kate Ryan with a tight cast of 7 with scripts in hand and a slightly streamlined version of the musical, we watched the story unfold with judicious use of blocking and song and the occasional dance.  Patricia Zentilli was simply wonderful as Mabel Normand.  Her voice soars and her portrayal of Mabel was both comical and heart-breaking.  I haven't ever seen her onstage before, but after this I will keep my eye out for her, as she was delightful to watch.  Her counter-part, Mack Sennett, was played by Jeff Haslam who seemed born to play the blustering non-romantic with the big ideas and the eye for what makes people laugh.  Haslam brought heart to the bigger than life character and his version of ‘I Won’t Send Roses’  was quite lovely. The cast was a nice tight ensemble and they treated us to a rousing tap number that was clean and sharp and just right!  It was a great start and I look forward to what this company will do next!

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