There's a revival of Mame playing at the Kennedy Center on its way to New York for the Fall and I bought a standing room ticket to it on Sunday night. The shoMamew's in the Eisenhower, a smaller theater and more like a Broadway theater than the Opera House is.

It's a slick professional production of a tuneful show where the music can cover a multitude of flaws. The choreography is nothing special but is Broadway flash and is executed well; the dancing and energy were particularly good in the opening party number, It's Today, and in the plantation Mame number.

The sets are somewhat sparse but there is a Southern plantation house for the Georgia scene and the very good main set, used several times, opens with St Bridget Deliver Us to Beekman Place with grids looking like stained glass windows in a church and then changes into the structure of Mame's penthouse. [And of course there's an immense curving Jerry Herman stairway for The Big Entrance of the Star.]

I saw the show a long time ago with Angela Lansbury and didn't remember the plot being so creaky and full of logical holes. I suspect there aren't any changes and that I just noticed things now that I didn't notice then.

For example, out of nowhere, for no reason Mame refers in the second scene to Babcock, the trustee for Patrick, as her "enemy" although the boy has arrived only 1 minute before and she had had no dealings with Babcock; all of a sudden at the beginning of act 2 there are constant references to Mame needing projects [which hadn't been mentioned in Act 1] to have a set up for her writing a book and transforming Gooch; and there is all the subtlety of a jackhammer pounding out over and over the contrast of the liberal free thinking Mame reaching out to the world and the reactionary Wasp Babcock closed in on himself.

[And all that self congratulatory boasting of the free thinking open minded liberal was a sharp contrast with the narrow minded stereotypical presentation of the Southerners who were shown as idiots and very inferior to the sophisticated Manhattanite ---- even to the extent of ridiculing the plantation with the racist name "Peckerwood ".]

All the performances were good but the role of the college-aged Patrick's roommate was danced particularly well.

Christine Baranski had the lead and did a very good professional but not particularly exciting job. At the very beginning her voice was hoarse but either the hoarseness diminished as the show went on or I got used to it; but I still found her voice harsh. She did do time steps but she didn't really dance; for example, in That's How Young I Feel she did time steps and choreographed walking with the chorus and then moved off stage as they went into the main dance number.

I've always found her particularly attractive in her television appearances and was disappointed that she was less so on the stage; her features, especially her nose, that are a little odd and therefore attractive on television came over as hard. Maybe it was the stage make up.Harriet Harris Christine Baranski

Harriet Harris [who played the agent Bibi on Frasier] looks short on television but is actually the same height as Baranski; she had the small but flashy role of the best friend, Vera, and did it well. She isn't much of a singer but did a good acting job in the number Bosom Buddies.

The house was sold out [that's how I was able to get the SRO ticket] and responsive and not as old as musical audiences in Washington, particularly at the Kennedy Center, often are.

I'd recommend seeing the show when it reaches New York.


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