BELL, BOOK & CANDLE -- Lovely Production, Lightweight Comedy
By Bob and Karen Isaacs
BOB: Before we went to see the production of Bell, Book and Candle at Long Wharf Theater, some knowledgeable theater friends were praising the production, so we were looking forward to seeing it.
KAREN: I especially was looking forward to this joint production with Hartford Stage, because I always had LOVED the movie version.
BOB: And they were right -- the production elements of this comedy are wonderful -- the set, the costumes, the lighting and the incidental music all set just the right tone.
KAREN: This 1950s comedy by John Van Drutten and directed by Darko Tresjnak tells the story of Gillian -- a beautiful witch in New York City who is discontented with her life. She is attracted to the successful publisher who is renting the apartment above her. When she learns he is engaged to her college rival, and the engagement is to be announced that night, she uses her powers to entrance him. As the romance continues, her brother and her aunt -- also witches but less competent complicate matters as does an author who wants to write a book about the witches around us. But as in all good romantic comedies, everything is resolved happily.
BOB: I felt this was a rather mundane play despite the witchcraft.
KAREN: Yes, it is somewhat typical ‘50s romantic comedy.
BOB: The fact is that the performances are appropriate to the play -- Kate MacCluggage as Gillian captured the various emotions.
KAREN: But I found it difficult to forget the film performances of Kim Novak as Gillian, Jack Lemmon as her brother, Elsa Lancaster as her aunt and Ernie Kovacs as the author -- plus James Steward as her lover.
BOB: This is an enjoyable evening of theater and while it may not have your thinking any deep thoughts as you leave, you will find yourself smiling.
KAREN: This continues as Long Wharf through April 1. It then transfers to Hartford Stage where it plays April 5 to 29th.
This review aired on WNHU-FM, 88.7 FM and www.wnhu.net