- CHARITY BENEFIT
The revival of the 1933 Cole Porter musical “Nymph Errant,” has a clever book, songs that don’t always hit but is refreshing to look at. The Prospect Theatre Company’s rendition is like the songs, not quite there. Taking on “Shades of Gray,” this production tries too hard to be sexual and in turn comes off as flaccid.
Originally written for Gertrude Lawrence, the role of Evangeline is now played by Jennifer Blood and the song that stood out in that production “The Physician,” has been given to Natalie E. Carter, which makes no sense. Rob Urbinati, has revised the book and Will Pomerantz has crammed his over directing and choreographing onto the tiny Theatre Row Clurman stage. As we gallop from Switzerland to Paris to Austria, it’s more a discounted tour that could have been a bargain, but is not.
The story follows finishing school graduate Evangeline Edwards (Jennifer Blood), whose classmates are ready for sexual bliss as she longs to settle for the boy back home. Her classmates taunt her so she sets out to learn the art of seduction, only to fail at it and return to the boy she loves.
Tony Award winning Cady Huffman, (“The Producers”) plays a variety of roles and is given some of the best material, which just lands flat. Natalie E. Carter plays Haidee, and doesn’t always succeed. Ms. Blood, as the lead, is boring. She sings well, looks good, acts perfectly fine, but we don’t care about her and we need to. Her school chums, are a whole lot more entertaining. The best is the adorable and multi-talented Sara Jayne Blackmore, who is the wise cracking American who longs for “The Boyfriend Back Home” and Amy Jo Jackson, soon to be seen in “Kinky Boots,” who plays the sports orientated German lesbian Bertha whose song “Georgia Sand” is turned into a group number so Cady Huffman can have more – - unwise. She is, however, given “Sweet Nudity,” that was cut from the original for being too risqué. Abe Goldfarb shines as a variety of suitors.
One longs for a really well done production after seeing this version; maybe one directed by Walter Bobbie fresh from “Venus in Fur.”
Nymph Errant: Harold Clurman Theater at Theater Row, 410 West 42nd Street, until July 29th.
WITH: Sara Jayne Blackmore (Henrietta), Jennifer Blood (Eve), Andrew Brewer (Oliver/Ben), Natalie E. Carter (Aunt Ermyntrude/Haidee), Laura Cook (Pidge), Abe Goldfarb (Pithers/Alexei/Ferdinand/Vassim), Cady Huffman (Miss Pratt/Clarissa/Mrs. Bamberg/Professor Krauthammer), Amy Jo Jackson (Bertha), Aubrey Sinn (Madeline) and Sorab Wadia (Andre/Heinz/Constantine/Ali).