ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER: Show Review by Robin Gorman Newman


A luminous Melissa Errico, a cast in fine voice and spirit, the classic show tunes of Burton Lane (music) and Alan Jay Lerner (book/lyrics), and ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER, the new revival at Irish Repertory Theatre directed by Charlotte Moore, hasn’t lost a musical beat.

With such beautiful songs as “What Did I Have That I Don’t Have?” and “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever,” it’s hard not to be a fan despite the very quirky story and somewhat convoluted book.

Eccentric Daisy Gamble has the ability to find missing keys, sense when a phone will ring and an extraordinary green thumb that magically invites flowers to bloom. When she and a bunch of friends take a hypnotism class led by psychiatrist Mark Bruckner (Stephen Bogardus), she winds up readily falling under his spell and becomes his patient in an effort to kick her nicotine addiction.  In so doing, her past life as an 18th century British aristocrat named Melinda Welles emerges.  She relives her great love affair with Edward Moncrief, all while Daisy herself is falling in love with the Dr. B. When Daisy stumbles on recordings of her sessions with the Dr., she feels used and becomes aware that he is seriously smitten with Melinda.  Ultimately, when he faces losing her, he discovers it is Daisy who he truly loves and strives to win her back.

With projections used to support the simple set, the production comes across very understated.  Ensemble characters sing and enter at times from the side staircase, with them not always in clear view.  Still, there is a certain charm that comes with this more intimate production that has been pared down considerably for the better by Director Moore.

Errico has a gorgeous voice, and while she’s adopted an affected New York accent for the role of Daisy…perhaps to all the more distinguish her from Melinda…her star quality is present.  And, Bogardus is equally as strong as Dr. Bruckner, though their romantic chemistry isn’t as palpable as one might expect.  John Cudia, however, plays Moncrief with great brawn and bravado.

The likeable, talented cast also features John Cudia as Edward Moncrief, Florrie Bagel as Sally/Flora, William Bellamy as Hubert Insdale, Rachel Coloff as Mrs. Hatch/Mrs. Welles, Peyton Crim as Chairman Latimer/Solicitor Trundle, Caitlin Gallogly as Janie Preston, Matt Gibson as Warren Smith, Daisy Hobbs as Muriel Benson, and Craig Waletzko as Dr. Conrad Fuller/Mr. Samuel Welles.

ON A CLEAR DAY YOU CAN SEE FOREVER features music direction by John Bell, choreography by Barry McNabb , orchestrations by Josh Clayton, and conducted by Gary Adler. The production team includes scenic designer James Morgan, costume design by Whitney Locher, lighting designer Mary Jo Dondlinger, and sound designer M. Florian Staab.

The five piece ensemble, including a harp, are visible on stage, and that too lends an appealing quality to this version of the musical.  It has come a long way since the original Broadway production in 1965, and while imperfections remain, it is faring better in this incarnation than it did in the first Broadway revival production back in 2011 that starred Harry Connick, Jr. and Jesse Mueller.

Running thru September 6th, you may visit www.irishrep.org.

 

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