In Short – “Hello Again” is an intense and satisfying evening of musical theater that explores the sexual conquests of an intertwined group. Based on the scandalous 1900 play, “La Ronde,” “Hello Again” presents ten characters in a figurative ‘round robin’ of erotic couplings, often in a unnervingly realistic way. The Bridge Repertory production is crisp and full of energetic performances. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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The seating for “Hello Again” seems quite informal: sofas, lounge chairs and even a dining room set. But don’t expect to spread out. Soon after you choose your seat, you will be warned to keep your possessions and limbs off the adjacent furniture and out of the aisles because the actors will need to ‘use’ those areas during the production. And by ‘use’ they really mean 'simulate sex'. There’s a lot of sex in “Hello Again” most of it is lusty as well as manipulative or angry or desperate. It’s a musical that’s about how lonely many of us are and how we use sex to try to find what’s missing. It’s not the old “Boy meets Girl, Boy loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl Back” story as much as it is “Boy humps Girl, Boy seduces different Girl then leaves abruptly, Girl ravishes Innocent Youth, Innocent cajoles Older, Married Women into semi-public sex”, and so on.
I guess it’s a love story for the “ok cupid” crowd.
That’s not to say that there’s no levity to be found in this well-conceived production directed by Michael Bello. Bridge Repertory continues its streak of presenting complex works with thoughtfulness and economy and this production has some wonderful performances and plenty of onstage joy.
Aubin Wise is electrifying as a randy nurse who seduces her virginal patient (Andrew Spatafora) and Sean Partrick Gibbons strikes a delicious balance between narcissism and self-doubt, as a writer who sees his sad life as a screenplay in the making. In fact everyone in the cast does a skilled job of interpreting LaChiusa’s sometimes complex music and lyrics. And the three piece 'orchestra' and actor’s voices blend seamlessly under Mindy Cimini’s musical direction.
“Hello Again” is a treatise on desire, longing and the endless isolation of being human. So see “Hello Again” and bring someone smart with you, so you can discuss it afterwards. Just don’t expect much more than a good night handshake.
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“Hello Again” words and music by Michael John LaChiusa, suggested by the play “La Ronde” by Arthur Schnitzler
directed by Michael Bello
musical direction by Mindy Cimini
choreography by Stephen Ursprung
scenic design by Anne Sherer
Presented by Bridge Repertory Company of Boston
Now through March 29, 2014
Hall A, Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
at the Boston Center for the Arts
Tickets, $35 - $45
(Additional $5.50 handling fee for each ticket purchased online or by phone)
For ticket reservations:
Visit www.bostontheatrescene.com // Call 917 633 8600
Buy In Person at the Box Office – 527 Tremont St, Boston