The Arts

The Fantasticks

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Reviewed by Paula Citron

The Fantasticks
Soulpepper
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Book and lyrics by Tom Jones
Directed by Joseph Ziegler
Performed by Albert Schultz, Jeff Lillico, Krystin Pellerin, Michael Hanrahan, William Webster, Oliver Dennis, Michael Simpson and Derek Boyes
Young Centre
Run began Feb. 8, 2011

The legendary musical The Fantasticks by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, ran 40 years off-Broadway. It has just been resurrected both in New York, and by Soulpepper, here in Toronto.

Now here’s the puzzle. Why did I find the show tedious?

It’s a musical of charm and whimsy. In the first act, boy meets girl, and they come together. In the second act, they both learn the hard truths of life – an arc from romance to cynicism. The second act has a bit more punch, but even it didn’t hold me for long.

I’m disappointed by Joseph Ziegler’s paint by numbers direction. He’s one of the country’s finest men of theatre, but he brought nothing original to the show. And same old, same old, just didn’t work.

Using actors who could sort of sing gave weight to the characters, and the original piano/harp accompaniment works well. I still admire the various song styles.

But, alas…I was bored.

The Fantasticks continues at the Young Centre.

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