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Irma La Douce @ Encores

WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/7/14 at 10:44pm
Well, even the best theatrical institutions must be forgiven for the occasional screw-up, and I'm sure I'll get over this eventually, but man did this show stink.

I don't think Irma La Douce is the strongest of shows to begin with; it must have a captivating leading lady and strong comic lead to be pulled off, and unfortunately this production had neither.

The plot reminded me of an unfunny version of One Man, Two Guvnors, and other than "Dis-Donc" none of the songs really stand out.

Elizabeth Seal is a lot of fun to listen to on the OBCR because she sounds so otherworldly and unpredictable. Even on the 100th listen you may still find yourself wondering what she will do with the next phrase. Jennifer Bowles spent everything before "Dis-Donc" sounding more Laurie in Oklahoma than an exciting French hooker.

John Doyle's direction certainly didn't help anyone out.

I can't believe I'm typing this, but for once this is an Encores worth skipping.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
mamaleh
Broadway Star
joined:5/11/04
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:48am
While I admired Rob McCulre's physically demanding performance and the nicely done choreography, I must agree with most of your assessment. This show has probably one of the weakest books of any musical I've ever seen.
Ed_Mottershead
Broadway Legend
joined:10/20/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 01:17am
I'm not questioning either of your appraisals of Irma, but, as one of the few living people on earth who saw the original, I can affirm that it was one of the most delightful nights I ever experienced (the original, not this production). I guess something got last since 1960. But it was great while it lasted.
BroadwayEd
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:04am
Ed, I don't doubt that there was something special about the original production. I mean the OBCR is (mostly) a delight and the performances have a raw crackle to them. Fortunately the recording isn't hampered by the dreadful book which could make almost any production unmountable. It truly is a testament to the original cast that they were able to pull this thing off.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:14am
"Fortunately the recording isn't hampered by the dreadful book which could make almost any production unmountable."

Ridiculous I saw a wonderful small-scale revival of this show just a few years ago.

Encores didn't cast or stage it appropriately. And even there, its charms were clearly discernible.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:31am
The only thing that was clear last night was the cold silence that each "joke" was met with by an comfortable audience. Clear too were the empty seats around me from those who fled at intermission.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
themysteriousgrowl Profile Photo
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:40am

Funny, Whizzer, but when After Eight speaks of that phenomenon happening at every show he sees, I never really believe him, but when you say it, it's totally plausible. Why do you think that is?
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:44am
Because After Eight's theme song is "See What I Wanna See" rather than what's really there!

Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
themysteriousgrowl Profile Photo
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:47am

I love that his theme song is LaChiusa.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
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givesmevoice
Broadway Legend
joined:12/2/07
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 08:50am
I'm disappointed to read both here and on ATC that the show is a letdown, especially since just last month The Most Happy Fella soared to stratospheric heights. I'll be at Saturday's matinee, so I guess I'll see for myself what a stinker it is.
When I see the phrase "the ____ estate", I imagine a vast mansion in the country full of monocled men and high-collared women receiving letters about productions across the country and doing spit-takes at whatever they contain. -Kad
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:17am
"Clear too were the empty seats around me from those who fled at intermission."

Yeah, just like those who fled at the intermissions (or earlier) of The Flick, Mr. Burns, Marie Christine, Queen of the Mist, Sweeney Todd, Sunday in the Park With George,......, right?

Because you have no knowlege or understanding of the culture, time, milieu and spirit evoked by the piece, and since the people involved in this production evidently didn't either, the fault lies with you and them - not the piece.

In other words, your know-it-all posturing is embarrassing.



Updated On: 5/8/14 at 09:17 AM
themysteriousgrowl Profile Photo
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:19am

Well, he's got you there.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
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macnyc
Broadway Legend
joined:7/26/08
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:26am
Is there any chance this can be fixed? Or is it "frozen"?

I have tickets for the Sunday matinee, and I would like the jokes to land by then, please!
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:30am
Ha. After Eight, how do you know what knowledge I have or don't have about the culture, time, etc?

To quote you, I'm just telling it like it is. The show last night stunk. I admitted that much of the fault needs to fall at the feet of the cast and creatives, and I also admitted to liking the score and OBCR. The book was weak though and there's no two ways about it. One doesn't need a degree in French culture or literature to figure that one out.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
themysteriousgrowl Profile Photo
themysteriousgrowl
Broadway Legend
joined:11/10/10
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:43am

When you don't like something, it's your fault.

When After Eight doesn't like something, he's right.

Come on, folks.
CHURCH DOOR TOUCAN GAY MARKETING PUPPIES MUSICAL THEATER STAPLES PERIOD CUM OIL
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:59am
A) I am rather shocked After Eight has yet to add Whizzer to his enemies list.
B) "In other words, your know-it-all posturing is embarrassing," is an instant-classic After Eight quote! Up there with the one about change being scary and the one about how kids should sing about cuckoo clocks.
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 09:59am
Double post due to being on a crummy computer.
Updated On: 5/8/14 at 09:59 AM
After Eight
Broadway Legend
joined:6/5/09
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 10:31am
"Ha. After Eight, how do you know what knowledge I have or don't have about the culture, time, etc? "

It's painfully apparent in your comments here, there, and everywhere. Embarrassingly apparent, it pains me to say.

You're like a child putting on mommy's or daddy's clothes and pretendng to be grown up. Except when children do it, they know they're just pretending.





Updated On: 5/8/14 at 10:31 AM
StageStruckLad Profile Photo
StageStruckLad
Featured Actor
joined:3/13/13
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 10:54am
I noticed that the book (such as it is) of MOST HAPPY FELLA had been abridged by Bill Rosenfield, who used to be the cast album A&R man at RCA. I think he just deleted a few small portions of that show, such as the postman delivering Rosabella to her new home. Did he adapt this one, too? If so, I wonder if part of the problem with IRMA is that it needs a more experienced playwright (such as David Ives) to trim the show.
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undercoveractor
Stand-by
joined:9/12/08
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:17pm
I saw QUEEN OF THE MIST twice, and I didn't notice a single audience member 'flee' either time. In that tiny space it would have been quite easy to see had that happened. In fact, both audiences seemed to really enjoy it.
You seem to attend an incredibly high number of performances where this happens AfterEight.....maybe it isn't the show. Maybe it's you.
Jordan Catalano Profile Photo
Jordan Catalano
Broadway Legend
joined:10/9/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:30pm
"You're like a child putting on mommy's or daddy's clothes and pretendng to be grown up. Except when children do it, they know they're just pretending."

And you're like a senile old man who forgot to put any clothes on and went to the grocery store naked and was picked up by police and taken to a facility where he can finally get the help and care that he so desperately needs.
chrisampm2
Broadway Star
joined:5/26/07
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:39pm
I'm with After Eight here, but without the personal snipes.
Whizzer is certain the book is awful and nothing from it landed last night (I disagree with both assertions). Also, he tries to back his claims by asserting that many other audience members fled at last night's intermission. After Eight is right to follow that logic to the lack of unanimous audience support for more high brow shows as proof that they too must then be stinkers (I think it's a fool's errand to discuss audience response as proof of anything but what may have happened at a given performance).
As for my own opinion, I think Doyle is the wrong man for this job. Irma requires performers and a staging of great vitality, charm, and distinctive personality. None of those were in great supply last night at Encores.
Kad Profile Photo
Kad
Broadway Legend
joined:11/5/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:53pm
I have to say, in all of my theatregoing experience, there have truly only been a handful of times that audience members leaving at intermission has been noticable to me.
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel Profile Photo
WhizzerMarvin TrinaJasonMendel
Broadway Legend
joined:5/26/05
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:55pm
chris, perhaps you are correct in not putting much faith in audience response as barometer for quality. The only reason I brought it up here was because the standard response at Encores is usually very warm and enthusiastic. The crowd knows they may be seeing a flawed show that has a score worth hearing again. It's normally a very supportive group, and last night was anything but.

Also, I found more fault with the book than simply not finding it funny. The second act (spoiler?) keeps Irma and Nestor apart for much of the time and basically sidelines our heroine from what little plot is progressing. The satire of the first act is traded in for an Odyssey type journey home that I just didn't care for.

Doyle definitely hindered the evening. It seemed like he was trying to create a Grand Hotel/Cabaret atmosphere rather than one needed.

Given that I enjoy the OBCR I would welcome the chance to see a better production and perhaps re-evaluate the book then. Based on what I saw last night I wasn't impressed with it, sadly.
Marie: Don't be in such a hurry about that pretty little chippy in Frisco. Tony: Eh, she's a no chip!
Tony2600
Chorus Member
joined:12/5/09
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 12:59pm
Viertel and company screwed up on this one. Doyle is not and should not be on anybody's list of directors when it comes to presenting a light, sexy, musical comedy farce.
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newintown
Broadway Legend
joined:3/3/10
Irma La Douce @ Encores
Posted: 5/8/14 at 01:08pm
"I think it's a fool's errand to discuss audience response as proof of anything..."

Thank you for that. There seems to be a large number of people who express an opinion on a show, then follow it up with something like "and the rest of the audience felt the same." They ignore two facts:

1) Our own reaction will color our perception of others' - that is, if we love a show, we want to see that everyone else loves it, and thus that's what we see; and

2) Assuming that because you are in the majority, that makes your opinion extra valid is a fallacy. Your opinion alone really is all you can (and need) express.

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