Saturday, April 01, 2006

The Turn of the Screw - Meydenbauer Center, Bellevue

When two children are left alone to be attended by two abusive guardians and a housekeeper, their story can become rather twisted. When their new Governess comes to relieve the housekeeper after the former Governess and the Valet pass on, she has more work ahead of her than she could have anticipated. When she's confronted with restless spirits and reluctant children, she has to find a way to save them all.

Benjamin Britten's operatic adaptation of Henry James's short story is an eerily moving production. Under the direction of Peter Kazara and Donald Eastman's fabulously dark and almost Tim Burton-esque set design, it becomes even more wonderfully disturbing.

It is a rare pleasure to see a male soprano perform live and David Korn provides this opportunity for the audience of "The Turn of the Screw." When he begins to sing, one looks around the stage to find where the beautiful soprano voice is coming from until one realizes that it is, in fact, David. His magnificent voice aside, his performance of Miles is appropriately dark and creepy while still childishly sweet and innocent. Alexis Martin's performance in the role of the Governess is extremely strong. It is a large role to carry and she does a fantastic and powerful job. Elizabeth Schultz (Miss Jessel) and Ted Schmitz (Peter Quint/Narrator) also carry their roles with power and intensity. Elizabeth's reaching and grasping movements with her fixed eyes make for a very creepy Miss Jessel and Ted's forceful singing let him exude a feeling of power.

All-in-all, a very well-done show and extremely entertaining. It's certainly no "Singin' in the Rain" and thank goodness! We all need a break from that once an a while to take a trip down the road of darkness.

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