Posted on Jul 21, 2013
3 out of 5
The problems that plagued this performance last year are still there, though they brought back most of the good parts, as well. We'll start with the good:
The magician, the hooper, and the bellydancer. All three were very talented, though the last two were hampered by music choice. I realize it was supposed to be rather dark, but all the music was so slow it drained the energy out of the audience. I don't know if it was choice, or inability to get permission to use other music, but I can certainly think of a lot of songs off the top of my head that would have meshed perfectly with the Clockwork theme (Beats Antique? Nightwish, even?). You could tell the audience wanted to get into it at some points, but felt constrained by the hushed atmosphere.
Despite the music choices, the hooper wowed the audience (people were softly exclaiming how amazing she was all around me) and the bellydancer was extremely graceful. The magician was spot on, with loads of stage presence and personality.
Now for the down sides. Some of the actors - most, except the butler, really - were very stiff in their delivery. Lack of practice or lack of confidence - or both? It also let to the story feeling much more disjointed than it otherwise could have. In fact, the story itself was a bit of a problem. Yes, I realize that this was an "abridged" version of the story, but in that case - why not "abridge" it right down to the last showing of the dolls? Make the entire show just the doll showcase, the magician bringing up the rear as an explanation of how they work (magic!). Highlight the performances instead of hiding them in a confusing mish-mash of storyline that felt rushed and off-kilter.
And finally, the burlesque part of the show. Still a disappointment, in fact, I think it was worse than last year. A few things that they need to understand... the dancing and removal of clothing items need to be seamless and performed at the same time. It's part of the dance. Not move/stop and remove a piece of clothing/move/etc. Secondly, clothing used for burlesque? It's designed for it. Struggling with zippers and fussy ties is problematic for the best burlesque dancers.
I will give them that their costumes were good (until they tried to come off) and some of the make-up jobs were good (the original doll being the best, some of the others were a little... rough looking in comparison). But the show still lacks polish, and it's another year of "so close to good, but you just missed it by *this* much".
I'd waffle between a two and a three, but the magician and the hooper pretty much make the show worth it, so for them, it's a three. I'm not going to tell people not to go, but I'm not going to recommend it, either.