Monday, February 06, 2006


Well, I never did get comments written on Berkeley Opera's Falstaff, and now it's over. I hope that no one missed the production on account of my indolence; it was very good in all respects. The orchestra played the best I've heard from Berkeley Opera; the singing was good and sometimes excellent (I loved Ann Moss's Nanetta in particular), the direction lively (though there could could have been a little less slapstick), the sets bare bones but effective.

Meanwhile, speaking prospectively, I saw Nanny McPhee yesterday, and suggest you do the same, especially if you like Emma Thompson and/or wicked children doing wicked things. The production design is especially neat - probably based on the Nurse Matilda books, which I haven't read, but would like to. You'll never see a Victorian home with that color scheme, I feel sure. Excellent performances from all involved, with an extremely hilarious Angela Lansbury (and if you're wondering where you last saw the boy who plays Simon, he was Liam Neeson's son in Love, Actually).

Saturday evening I saw Luma at the 16th Street Victorian Theater. It is very entertaining, though I'm not sure I'd describe it as "spectacular," which is how the Luma Web site describes the show. If you've seen Cirque du Soleil you have seen more spectacular theater; if you've seen The Flying Karamazov Brothers, you've seen much more spectaular juggling. I like the concept: a dark stage with lots of tricks done entirely through lighting effects. The execution is variable, and while you can't actually see how the tricks are done, they're not hard to figure out, so there's not so much mystery. The show's a bit long for the material, and the volume level of the soundtrack needs to be turned down (it's a very good score, however). Luma is fine if you're looking for something light, fun, and entertaining, but don't expect depth or revelations.

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