Reviews of shows from the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts and other local venues published by the Los Cerritos Community News. The writer and paper are in their twentieth year of covering these events.

My Photo
Location: Fear City, Ca., United States

"My name is Addison DeWitt. My native habitat is the theater. In it I toil not, neither do I spin. I am a critic and commentator. I am essential to the theatre - as ants to a picnic, as the boll weevil to a cotton field." George Sanders in "All About Eve"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Love Sweet Love November 30, 2007

Love Sweet Love Steps Lightly at Cerritos

By Glen Creason

The Southern California premiere of “Love Sweet Love” hit the boards at the Performing Arts Center over the weekend and spread some sweetness on the stage along with much contemporary visual appeal. Front and center in the show is the music of Burt Bacharach and the lyrics of Hal David providing fool-proof musical joy and a familiar, popular ground to dance upon. This Theater League production also had a young and very enthusiastic cast that lit up the stage with an optimism the lyrics don’t always have since many dwell on loss and the ache of love’s tricky travails. The overall look of “Love, Sweet Love” was fresh and colorful with sets, lighting and choreography looking all very modern and upbeat. The action bounced from a card store to coffee house to beauty parlor to office to single bar to cheesy motel to cruise ship and to a lonely wife’s bedroom with skill and some flair. In a nutshell, the story is about young folks trying to find love in a crazy world. What’s not to like about great songs, a smart production and an energetic cast tripping the lights fantastic?
Well, the show may feature over thirty gems from the Bacharach/David treasure chest but many were truncated and certainly changed from the versions we know and love. Certainly songs like “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head,” “Do You Know the Way to San Jose,” “Promises, Promises” and “Walk on By” are seared in our juke box consciousness forever and ever and could be sung word for word by half the population. The musical “Love Sweet Love” takes all the songs, too many in fact, and uses them to piece together a montage of the lives of a dozen characters, loosely interconnected by a philandering husband, hopeful young women and an accident victim sort of piecing her life back together. The real current that runs through it all is love but the book here is light, as light as meringue, as light as angel food cake. While the production is filled with beautiful girls and a first-rate production the singing was very definitely weighed in favor of the ladies, especially in the parts of Gwen played by Dawnn Lewis and Katherine, played by Kara Shaw who had voices to make the old chestnuts shine. Ms. Lewis was the true standout and her numbers were the best of the many. Tiffany, acted by Mercy Malick and Amy played by Alaine Kashian were outstanding in every way and several men held their own in the torrent of songs including Keith Bearden as the philandering Mike, Matthew Patrick Davis as Norman the tall, unsure of himself geek and Daniel Lujan, the nice guy Latin lover.
There is a sort of mutation of the original versions of the songs and some worked really well like a hoedown, ensemble of “the Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” or the computer dating angle of “What’s New Pussycat.” However, some subverted the intent as when “One Less Bell to Answer” became a mourning song, “Alfie” flips to upbeat and “Walk on By” became about women’s revenge on an unfaithful lover. “Love Sweet Love” sort of aims at being a “Bye Bye Birdie” with even better music but I think it could have spread the love a little better with less songs, sung longer with a little less sugar on top.


Post a Comment

<< Home