Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: Dangerous Beauty - a delicious night!

Musicals, sushi and Thai iced tea go so well together, don't you think? It was just another entertaining night in the LA area - this time in Pasadena! (Photo credit:  John Ganun)

The night started out wth the opening of a most intriguing musical, Dangerous Beauty, at the Pasadena Playhouse. Amongst the eager crowd I spotted a few famous faces including Swoosie Kurtz, Doris Roberts and Catherine McCormack, who played the heroine in the 1998 movie of the same name.

But I get ahead of myself. The performance opened up to a lavish, two-story set of balconies, bridges, columns and stairs of 14th century Venice, while the cast, decked out in amazing Renaissance-esque costumes, started singing and dancing to... modern rock?

It only makes sense. The musical is based on the novel/movie about the life of a well-educated Venetian courtesan, Veronica Franco. What else could bring out the the wild sensuality hidden under the smooth wit of the poetic Veronica but the powerful chords of a guitar riff? And the gritty strength of Rock and Roll was there in the mix (just not enough for my tastes!)

As I said, the versatile set and costumes were a delight to behold (with pieces gliding back and forth as scenes melded seamlessly into one another). The back-and-forth repartee between the actors was well-written and well-spoken (especially the banter between Veronica and her rival Maffio), and the vocals were just amazing!

So what made it intriguing? It wasn't about the life of a courtesan - that's been done before and in various cultures (ie, Memoirs of a Geisha), but the contrast of the lives of the sheltered wives and the worldly courtesans, the contrast of love and lust and marriage, of the joys in success and the bitterness of jealousy. I was so intrigued that I wanted to know more about all the other characters as well.

After the show, my friend and I went to Chada Sushi, a quaint little restaurant in Old Pasadena where we sampled some Thai-fusion sushi. The Love Roll was not only cute but delicious, and I finally found another place that serves sushi with garlic and onions. Yum! I guessed that we weren't the only ones with this great idea because the place filled up right when we got there!

The delicious eye candy of Dangerous Beauty, the delicious mix of Thai and sushi, and a great talk with a friend - overall, a fantastic experience!

-Tiina Vuorenmaa, ExperienceLA Staff


EditorLA said...

I spotted Melissa Manchester in the audience, as well. It was a star-studded evening!

LoganBruin said...

I saw Dangerous Beauty a week ago and want to go back! The last song in particular I wish I had on my player.