ACT WAN

Funniest of the lot is Scott Johnson as a great dopey secretary to the Colonel. As Julie and Max, Michele Ludden and Mark Devine are excessive when a dry sense of style might have covered the author's inadequacies. No one could mistake these two for Gertrude Lawrence and Noel Coward.

By far the most successful element of the evening is the delightful swing-time music, sassily played by a live orchestra led by Tom Wojtas. The music gave the evening some of the champagne bubble the gala event deserved. Along with the music, the most accomplished aspect of the evening was the witty and fluid costumes by Rebecca Y. Powell. She manages to combine such style and humor in the clothes that if you squint your ears, you can almost hear clever repartee.

The staging by Michael D. Mitchell is sometimes excessive, but he tries to keep the pace moving along to disguise the hollow substance of the comedy. Perhaps a director with a subtler touch could have choreographed a production lighter on its feet, but this script would need some major dramaturgical work to rise to the standards that Mitchell set in his dedication speech at the start of the evening.

Still, we must be grateful to have a posh new theatre in the Valley, and a venerable institution to occupy it.

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