Carnival -- Charming and Delightful

By Bob and Karen Isaacs

BOB:  Bring the kids up to Goodspeed in East Haddam to see a terrific production of Carnival.

KAREN: Carnival is a musical with music and lyrics by Bob Merrill and book by Michael Steward with revisions by Francine Pascal and directed by Darko Tresnjak. You may remember in the early 1950s a film called  Lili.

BOB:  This is a musical adaptation of it.

KAREN: It's the story of a naive young girl in France who eagerly joins a traveling circus. She becomes dazzled by the troupe's manipulative magician, but in the end finds her happiness with a disillusioned puppeteer who can only express himself through his delightful puppets. Probably the best known song from this show which starred Anna Maria Alberghetti is
 
BOB:  "Love Makes the World Go Round."

KAREN: Do you remember that also in the cast was Jerry Orbach who played the puppeteer? Also Kaye Ballard played the magician's long -suffering fiancee and assistant, a comic role.

BOB: This is a good show, and as I said take the kids. They will love it and the puppets are terrific.

KAREN: This isn't for very young kids -- the story is a little dark at times; there is some drama. But our 9-year-old granddaughter loved it.  Goodspeed has done some wonderful things with the production. On that very small stage that have brought on a trapeze, some magic tricks, acrobatics

BOB: They are geniuses at making that stage enlarge.

KAREN:  The ensemble does a magnificent job -- everything from a Can-Can to acrobatics. 

BOB:  Lauren Worsham plays Lili, the young girl

KAREN: I wasn't that pleased with her

BOB: You don't realize what a very hard role it is -- she has to be very naive, she's a teenager but very naive. In a sense that is part of what is wonderful about  it -- her belief in the puppets.

KAREN: I agree that it part of the magic, but I don't think she did a particularly good job of capturing the character without making Lili seem mentally challenged. She does have a beautiful voice. I was very impressed with Adam Monley who plays Paul, the puppeteer. And I liked Mike McCowan who played Marco the Magnificent.  I thought the rest of the cast was better than she was.

BOB: You're entitled to your opinion.

KAREN: there are some lovely songs, a wonderful Can Can ballet.

BOB: and that great song.

KAREN: It's interesting that Paul gets the two curtain songs -- at the end of the first act, "Everyone Likes You" and at the end, just before the final clinch, "She's My Love."

BOB: It's a good show that you will definitely enjoy.

KAREN: Carnival at Goodspeed runs through Sept. 18. Go see it, you will enjoy it.

This review ran on WHNU-88.7fm and wnhu.net.


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