Agora Movie – Lush; “Hold out your Hand Naughty Boy”; Noel Coward Revue; WBUZ Chat Line

by Buzzin' Lee Hartgrave on July 23, 2010

COWARDLY THINGS – SOPHISTICATED, WITTY

How many revues can we count on our hands over the years that have mined the depths of Noel Coward? Well, I’ll tell you there are more than I can count. There is no doubt that Coward’s songs are urbane, biting and overflowing with subtle humor. Many of the numbers are campy. Coward did not write some songs in this show, but they have that Coward essence about them.

Worton Murphy wrote “Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy”. Other songs in this little pastiche are a Cole Porter song ‘You Don’t Know Paree’ and Roger’s and Hart (the Blue Room.” They all fit perfectly in this breezy little musical.

It is a Coward show with only a cast of two – but you get the feeling that there is a cast of thousands, as Scrumbly Koldewyn and Cindy Goldfield wink and blink at each other, like they are at a Pacific Heights upper scale drawing room with Charlotte (whatever her last name is now) in the room.

Loved – and who doesn’t? “Our Mother Doesn’t Know We’re on the Stage” (by Billy Bennett) and the hilarious “Mrs. Worthington” – with lyrics like ‘don’t put your daughter on the stage.”

Goldfield and Koldewyn are delightfully deft. They have a genuine comic pulse going between the two of them. And the direction by Michael Phillis sure has an instinct for popular entertainment. The entire evening is a charming, high-speed comedy with an underlying exotic feel to it. You can’t help but fall in love with this “Crazily Inventive” evening. There is even a Tribute to Oscar Wilde. I guarantee that you will leave with a Grin on your face. It’s the Ultimate Face Lift!

Noel Coward had tremendous influence over Hollywood Actors, such as Gary Grant, Laurence Olivier and Rex Harrison. I would say that some of their lofty acting personas are owed to Coward.

AT NEW CONSERVATORY THEATRE CENTER

RATING: THREE GLASSES OF CHAMPAGNE!!! –trademarked-


Agora – a Lush Movie experience. Courtesy photo.

AGORA – A SWEEPING SPECTACLE

It was tough going in the little corner of Alexandria. There was constant civil strife with violent feuds between Christians (the Bad Guys), Pagans (The good guys in this movie) and the Jews. Hey – isn’t that just the way it is now. The religious nuts are always the Sh-t disturbers and the one’s that just want to go on with their lives have to surrender to the ones carrying around religious symbols. What hypocrites they are.

Flush with Imperial authority – the Pagans soon become Christians after of course they rip the skin from a docile woman who was only trying to teach students about how the world revolves. In the eyes of the Christians she was a “Witch” and had to be stoned. They ruined the library – then went after Hypatia. They undress her for all to see before they stoned her and burnt her on the street for all to see. Well, that’s Christianity for you. Saints they ain’t.

This is all based on a true story. In fact Hypatia was the first person or one of the first to discover the Earth revolves around the Sun. But only the educated elite like Aristotle also believed in what Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) was trying to teach.

The atmosphere (scenery, costumes and buildings) did not look like a set at all. This was an amazing feat. Everything looked exactly like it would have looked in those ancient times. I would say that they certainly did their homework to recreate such an astounding looking motion picture.

Maybe not a movie for everyone – but if you like being immersed in a historic movie – you will certainly like this one. However — if Religious idiots upset you, then this is probably not for you.

It’s beautiful to look at and is ‘Artful and Clever.”

Now playing at the Embarcadero Theatre.

RATING: THREE BOXES OF POPCORN!!! –trademarked-


Actor/Singer James Darren will appear at Reaf Benefit at Herbst Theatre. Courtesy Photo.

WBUZ RADIO CHAT

COMING UP IN AUGUST – Tickets are really flying out the Window for the Big REAF Benefit at the Herbst Theatre with stars like Carol Channing, and James Darren (Teen Age Idol, Movie Star/Actor). Also the loveable Carol Cook with her potty mouth will also be there. You get to hear American Idol Stars among many other outstanding singers/dancers/comics. It’s going to be an evening of fun and untamed imagination. This is the biggie for the year. The Reaf Benefit helps many Charities including AIDS organizations. It’s great that these marvelous talents are donating their time for this evening. Believe me – This is an absolute can’t miss! By the way I had a nice talk with the talented James Darren – what an interesting and fun guy. The Chat with him will appear about a week before the Gala at the Herbst Theatre.

http://www.helpisontheway.org/

TIPS: Trip The Light Fantastic and go to see the fabulous stage play “The Fantasticks” at the SF Playhouse (one of SF’s) leading innovative Theatre.

At the Rrazz room this weekend is Angela Bofill at 8pm – and coming up is the Hot Dancing Guys from Australia. Shirts will be off and the sweat will be swirling. You may want to wear extra under arm spray. You’ll get that hot – I’m sure. Check out the schedule at http://www.therrazzroom.org/.

DREAMGIRLS is coming back to town as part of the SHN season. It will be great to hear “One Night Only” again. It’s a really swell show and one of my faves. I wanna be there with you. Check calendar at: http://www.shnsf.com/

AND THAT’S A WRAP!!!!

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Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave

Buzzin’ Lee Hartgrave is a longtime theater critic in the San Francisco Bay Area. His reviews appear each Friday in Beyond Chron.

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