The World Goes ‘Round

Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Directed by David Rogers
Choreographed by Kerry Gage
Musical direction by Steven Woodjetts
Performed by Marianne McCord, Stephen Patterson, Rebecca Poff, Stephanie Roth, Shawn Wright
Playhouse II, Grand Bend
July 12 to September 3, 2005
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

Kander & Ebb make the World Go ’Round

Playhouse II – the smaller stage in the barn at Huron Country Playhouse near Grand Bend – is presenting a Kander & Ebb revue called The World Goes ‘Round. This show is best appreciated by those who love big show tunes, belted out by good voices.

Kander & Ebb are a great Broadway duo, who collaborated on many musicals, with Kander writing the music while Ebb wrote the lyrics. The pair’s best-known shows are Chicago and Cabaret. The World Goes ‘Round features a selection of songs from various shows: there is no plot to this production, it’s really more of a concert.

It features a cast of five: Marianne McCord, Stephen Patterson, Rebecca Poff, Stephanie Roth and Shawn Wright. All five are excellent musical theatre talents, each having handled lead roles in the past. Stephen Patterson is a stand-out, bringing down the house with his show-stopping solo, Kiss of the Spider Woman. And herein lies the problem – apparently Patterson, whose credits include playing Bobby Strong in Urinetown at CanStage, is moving on. Saturday’s show was cancelled as his replacement was rehearsing.

Fortunately the remaining four can and will carry the show with ease. Rebecca Poff is a favourite at HCP, having starred in the past as Marion the Librarian in The Music Man, and last summer, she was outstanding as Aldonza in Man of LaMancha. In this revue, Poff has the opportunity to show some of her comedy skills, particularly when she scratches and belches while lamenting that nobody’s got no class, singing the song Class in a duet with the equally talented Stephanie Roth. Shawn Wright’s flair for comedy shows as he sings Chicago’s Mr. Cellophane. Poff and Wright are hilarious as the nerdy couple in Ring Them Bells, and the entire cast gets the laughs when they toast with their Tim Horton’s cups, singing Coffee in a Cardboard Cup.

In contrast to the comedy, Roth’s emotional rendition of Maybe This Time from Cabaret will bring a tear to many an eye.

Kerry Gage’s choreography makes very clever use of the small stage. She has enhanced each number with appropriate movement, from McCord’s sizzling Fossé style dance in All That Jazz, to having the entire cast on roller skates in The Rink.

Director David Rogers has pulled all 30 songs together, moving quickly and smoothly from one to the next, creating a very enjoyable evening.

The World Goes ‘Round continues with eight shows a week until September 3 at Playhouse II, Grand Bend. Tickets are available at the Huron Country Playhouse box office at (519) 238-6000 or Drayton Entertainment at 1-888-449-4463.

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