Clipped From Asbury Park Press
Voices Carry r By ED KNOBLAUCH I ' Special to the Press I RUMSON "Three Penny Opera" is an ,ambitious undertaking for a community 'theatre, with good singers a must if Kurt Weil's beautiful 'music Is to be enjoy-ed. enjoy-ed. enjoy-ed. I The Barn Theat-jer's Theat-jer's Theat-jer's production, rwhich opened last Opinion night, has the voices, and the evening is enjoyable, despite some reservations about the acting. Kenneth J. Hart sings clearly, strongly ind with talent as Macheath, and Jean Toher )rings a captivating tenderness to her songs n the role of Polly, Mack's bride. Among the vocal highlights are "What Keeps a Man Alive," by Hart and the entire company, "Mackie and Me", a , lovely duet jy Miss Toher and Jody Leitstein, who both perform well, and "Sorry" by Miss Leitstein. Other standouts are the Street Singer's 'Mack the Knife," sung by Martin Crubman, Hiss Toher's "Pirate Jenny" (the black reighter) and "Useless" by Leonard Saxton. Saxton is especially good as Peachum, seldom raising his voice but commanding 'attention with shrewd insight into the siy character who operates the school for beggars beggars and engineers Macheath's capture. 'Three Penny Opera? Hart, by contrast, plays Macheath with an excess of venom, the harshness of the tone of his voice detracting from what otherwise otherwise would be an altogether convincing performance. performance. Hart looks the part, sinisterly handsome, and he is in command throughout. But director Calvin McClinton has failed to instill variety in the character, with Hart coming on so strong early on that by the time he rages for help from his cronies as he awaits the gallows, the thrust of Macheath's violence is lessened. Hart consistently demonstrates the intelligence intelligence and ability necessary for the role, and taken into tow by the director, he could easily improve the interpretation before the end of the play's run. Similarly, some of the girls in the brothel in London's Soho district would be more believable if they acted less broadly. There's not much seduction in a brothel, and the girls try too hard to make it appear there is. Jenny, for instance, sung nicely by by Maura Minton, would be more realistic if Miss Minton emphasized her betraying nature nature more than her glamour. But that might be beyond her, for Miss Minton is undeniably glamorous, with her youth and her natural appeal perhaps working against her In this role. Pianist Linda McCall's playing is excel lent throughout, and is the lighting by Barry Bestle and Bill King. Matt's gang is amusing, with George Sherling, Clint Eckstein, Mark Kevin Weaver and David C. Gray, with Gray especially comical. The beggars, mostly young actors, do just fine, and they, and the rest of the cast, do wonders in changing scenery in the quickest quickest and quietest fashion. Supporting players include Bill Brisley, who does well, Rosemary Pappa, who is good as Mrs. Peachum, Ronald Andrews, a suitable suitable minister, and William B. King, who despite despite a bit of scene-stealing, scene-stealing, scene-stealing, succeeds at making the character of the polititcal Tiger Brownboisterous, obsequious, obnoxious and Interesting. Others In the cast are Anne Toronto, Vickie Swan, Monica Fairfax, Carol Welsh, Bonnie Gaynor, and Debbi Rosenthal as the girls, and Kathy Jaeger, Robert Levine, Debbie Muise, Susan Orr, Sandy Rose, Dorothy Dorothy Rounds, Carol Scherling and Susan Sil-vestci Sil-vestci Sil-vestci as the beggars. The play is scheduled tonight and next Friday and Saturday, curtain 8:30, at The Barn, which Is on Ridge Road opposite the Fromagerie Restaurant. Unfortunately, a photographer was allowed allowed to continue shooting throughout the entire entire performance last night, a practice which is best limited to dress rehearsals.