Photo by Don Kellogg

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Little Miss Sunshine

Living its second life, reincarnated and redesigned since its debut at La Jolla, the curtain now rises on Little Miss Sunshine at Second Stage Theater.  If you've seen the movie (like so many shows these days) you may go in with high hopes and leave with them dashed.   If you arrive having forgotten or never even seen the movie - well, it's cute and funny, but I'm guessing the battle to compare to and overtake the movie will be an uphill battle for many.

Since I subscribe to 2ST, I want to see the shows and look forward to them.  This show was entertaining, but not a blockbuster.  I giggled, I laughed, and even shed a tear.  But the movies (as it always is) can do so much more, visually and cinematically speaking.

The key element of cleverness was how they were going to portray the bus - and their choice was skeleton - chairs and a steering wheel - pushing the bus (a key element in the movie too) was cleverly done indeed but it didn't quite cut it.  In order to establish the key elements of the plot - I was delighted to find out much material was cut and the show was run without an intermission to be brief and poignant.

Stephanie J. Block (Sheryl) was as always pitch perfect but somewhat waste in the role.  She hit all the right notes but she's so much more.  The uber-handsome Rory O'Mally (Frank), her brother, had a depth and warmth and sarcastic bite that was delicious - and what a set of pipes he's got.  Logan Rowland (Dwayne) was cute but,  as expected, didn't speak 3/4ths of the show.  Will Swenson (Richard) was a great last minute swap as Will Chase recently backed out.  But the real star of the show (as was the movie) was Hanna Nordberg (Olive).  She was pure delight - sweet innocence - a child struggling to love her family and fit in.  Grandpa , David Rasche, was funny, but failed to meet the singing requirement.  As a matter of fact - many of the songs were part said, part sung which doesn't quite make for an evening of total delight.  One or two songs hit the mark, most did not.

Entertaining yes.  Overtaking the movie's enjoyment factor, i think not.