New edition- as heard this morning on WICC 600:
“Welcome to Katz Reviews. This is Ed Katz of Katnip Marketing- marketing consultant by day; theater critic by night bringing you my weekly review segment, Katz Reviews, right here on WICC 600.
Today I review ‘Amelie,’ based on the popular French film that made Audrey Tautou a star. Focusing on a young French girl who moves to Paris to escape her crushing youth, she grows into an attractive but painfully shy young woman. Amelie decides her life mission is to do good deeds for people anonymously. She works in a boring café populated by a group of contrived idiocentrics, who often provide mundane narration- meaning far too much is told instead of shown.
Played on stage by Phillipa Soo, an original cast member of ‘Hamilton,’ she again proves a capable performer with a strong voice but is given precious little to work with here in the silly book by Craig Lucas, who also adapted romances ‘The Light in the Piazza’ and ‘An American in Paris.’ Like those, ‘Amelie’ also has a completely predictable love story- but the road to the inevitable embrace was much more engaging in those stories.
Amelie’s love interest, played by Adam Chanler-Berat, is clearly talented and has a marvelous singing voice which is just not utilized enough. A duet he has with Amelie is an all too infrequent moment where this show finally approaches being charming.
Directed by Pam McKinnon, who won a Tony Award for her revival of Edward Albee’s ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,’ this show is the complete opposite of that heavily dramatic straight play- which makes McKinnon an odd choice to direct this. ‘Amelie’ tries to be a light, fluffy bon bon of a musical, but is instead clunky and silly and even includes a bizarre product placement for a travel website.
What were they thinking?
Scenic designer David Zinn’s recent credits were also for heavy shows- so he, too, is an odd choice for ‘Amelie’- and it shows as this may be the ugliest set I have seen on a Broadway stage in years.
Sadly, I give ‘Amelie’ only 1 star out of 5 as all these misfires and odd choices by the creative team make what should be a joyous, buoyant story come across like Woody Allen’s description of hope- as the thing without feathers. It just doesn’t take off.
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This is Ed Katz talking theater for WICC 600!”