Love is in the air. Bah, humbug. The holiday season is a time when people are divided into those who have a loved one and those who have not. Bitter, party of one, your table is ready. Somehow, though, all the concern tends to dissipate as one watches the musical production that Bruce Miller bravely dabbles in. The play’s timeliness plays a significant role, and even if audience members are without a significant other, it makes one think of the values we hold dear and close to our hearts when we choose a mate. That is right, boys and girls, this show, based on a play by Miklos Laszlo who wrote the play that inspired You’ve Got Mail, insinuates that a person could fall in love with the loathed identity that just won’t leave your life.
Mr. Kenneth Kurtz’s set is nothing short of spectacular. For a UM production that is under-funded in relation to professional venues, it does not compromise in the least. There are rotating, circulating, moveable set pieces that keep your attention at every moment, so that even when a mock light fell onto the floor, no one seemed to mind. When a play is cast this well, it ensures that the audience will invest itself for the entire length of the play.
The interesting variety of voices chosen by N. David Williams raises a hair or two on the back of the neck, but also makes one wonder why all the talented women in this production give the audience just about the same range. Nevertheless, when the ensemble comes together, all the voices mix into a delightful melody that had patrons humming the tunes afterwards. It’s catchy.
Georg (Paul Haasch) and Amalia (Lindsay Smith) work so well together on stage that the audience wants to see them hook up, no matter the obstacles. Even better is Ashley Atkina’s character, Llona, who sings most delightfully, and Normand Rocha as Arpad, who gives the show a variance of comic relief to talk about over dinner. One of the best moments of the play is a restaurant sequence that runs flawlessly like clockwork. One of the worst is a pretentious snow scene that is noisy and takes away from the actors’ moments on stage. The talented musician brought on board is pleasing to listen to, switching from a piano to a keyboard in an effective fashion.
During the finale, one will feel satisfied with the UM Theatre Department’s way of handling this genre, as all the effort and preparation that encompasses the show proves to be well worth it. In a world full of much hatred and sorrow, it is comforting to be able to sit in a dark theatre and be entertained by some local talent – people who are on their to becoming the next major stars of the stage.
She Loves Me plays at the Ring Theatre on campus until November 23rd. Call (305) 284-3355 for more information.
Josh Caraballo can be reached at email@example.com