Chicago Theatre Review
Kokandy Repeats with Another Hit
Loving Repeating – Kokandy Productions
Kokandy Productions has put on a charming production of “Loving Repeating” a musical in which all of the words and lyrics are taken from the works of Gertrude Stein and which is billed as a tribute to the author.
The imaginative and compact set is filled with reproductions of the numerous modern artworks that decorated the author’s Paris home and is built on several levels allowing the actors to transition easily while the narrator – Gertrude Stein herself (played with wry wit by Caron Buinis) provides running commentary from the highest corner.
Chronicling from Stein’s days as a student near Boston to her later years as a celebrated author in Paris, her prose and poetry cover her struggles with what the narrator describes as two of her primary concerns: love and publication.
Director Allison Hendrix has captured the true essence of this piece calling it “an enthusiastic celebration of life, love and art.” Music Director Kory Danielson has produced a lovely lyrical accompaniment that is a pleasure to the ear and expertly performed on keyboards, reeds, guitar/banjo/mandolin, and cello.
Amanda Giles is lovely as the fresh-faced younger version of Gertrude; Emily Goldberg’s (as Alice B. Toklas) standout vocals are a highlight. They are supported by a solid ensemble including Sarah Hayes, Andrew Lund, Jake Morissey, Maisie Rose, Stephanie Stockstill and George Toles.
The performance is staged as a smallish Broadway musical with the exception of the lyrics which are the work of an author known for her experimentation with language and repetition. This does not always lend itself to songs that are completely pleasing; but the listener must surrender in this case, I think to one of the conundrums of artistic endeavor: sometimes the writer’s need for full self-expression supersedes the reader’s need to fully understand.
Reviewed by Rebecca Abisdris
Runs July 23 – August 30 at Theatre Wit 1229 W. Belmont Avenue
Tickets call 773-975-8150 or go to www.Kokandyproductions.com
Additional information about this and other area productions can be found by visiting www.theatreinchicago.com