Review "I Do! I Do!": A TO-DO for the Married Set!

Light Opera Works presents

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I Do! I Do!
Light Opera Works Second Stage, 1420 Maple, Evanston
Book and lyrics by Tom Jones

Music by Harvey Schmidt
Based on the play "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog
Originally produced on Broadway by David Merrick
Originally directed by Gower Champion
Stage director and choreographer Rudy Hogenmiller
Co-music directed by Roger Bingaman and Linda Slein
Fridays and Saturdays @ 8pm, Sundays @3pm thru November 14th
Buy Tickets
Running time:  Two hours and thirty minutes includes a fifteen minute intermission

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

1898 to 1948:  two world wars, depression, suffragettes, prohibition.  For the Snows, it's fifty years of marital blis...tering.  In between wanting emancipation, they learn to love together.  Light Opera Works presents I DO! I DO!, a musical based on the play "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog. Most romantic plays showcase the courtship and end with commitment.   I DO! I DO! uses the 'they lived happily ever-after' as the  starting point and spans the next fifty years.  The two-person show dialogues around the marriage bed.  Agnes and Michael conduct pivotal life conversations in their bedroom.  Initially, it's a 'turn-your-back- while-I-take-off-my robe' formality.   Later, it's a 'here's-my-list-of-things-I-hate-about-you' rant.  And finally, it's a 'yes-dear-I-heard-what-you-said-I'm-still doing-it-my-way' affectionate resignation.   With book and lyrics by Tom Jones, I Do! I Do! relays the ecstasy and the angst in light and frothy melodies.

 

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From I do! I do! until they waltz off post curtain call, Catherine Lord and Larry Adams are a charming married couple.  Lord and Adams definitely have the chemistry to go lovey-dovey or disdain-pain depending on the situation.   In 'Nobody's Perfect', they spar in harmonious discord.   Going solo, they each sing with absurdity about finding love elsewhere.  Adams pompously discounts aging women in 'A Well Known Fact.'  Lord delightfully vamps 'Flaming Agnes.'  Progressing through fifty years, Costume Designer Darcy Elora Hofer dresses the couple up with vintage finery.  An fur and cape evening outing is an especially exquisite attired visual.  Hems go up and corsets go off in the aging process.  The actual character transformation is not as smooth.   Returning for the second act, the couple is startlingly changed, especially Lord.  It's confusing to find out their parents of teens because they've seemingly progressed further.  One of the best scenes is Lord and Adams aging themselves on stage or rather below stage (which is challenging to see).  Right before the last scene, they apply make-up and adjust hair for a very intriguing imagery.

I DO! I DO! is a light-hearted romp with traditional stereotypes.  A housewife hides her expensive hat under their bed.  A husband finds female adoration outside their bed.  The set-up problems are familiar.  I do and I don't get it.  The story goes comedy-sitcom-simple with long scenes on a single issue.  In a fifty year span, there seems to be a missed opportunity to show the influence of world events on the marriage and the characters.  Regardless of my do's and don'ts, the seasoned couples around me were poking each other, laughing heartily and repeating lines in amusement.   They did! They did!  Obviously, I DO! I DO! is an enthusiastic TO-DO for the married set.         
 
With one down and forty-nine to go, Jasleen describes  the show with 'fifty long years.'

Production photography courtesy of Rich Foreman.

WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Knowing the Evanston do's and don'ts from her single days, Jasleen steers us to Thai Sookdee, 1016 Church Street.  The massive Thai restaurant is promising from the jumping off point... smells enticing and is inexpensive.  $5 for a glass of merlot?  I do! I do!  We go splitzy on an appetizer, three oversize potsticker wannabees.  Tasty!  I order the Pad See Eiw, big noodles with pork and broccoli.  Jas orders a ginger vegetable dish.  It inspires me to request a side of the ginger sauce which comes out as a mini version of her dish.  I send it back.  A huge bowl of sauce arrives.  Even though it doesn't have the ginger essence of Jasleen's dish, the meal is good and cheap with leftovers to go!  The service isn't the most efficient and we struggle to get our check.  When it finally arrives, one appetizer, two glasses of wine, two entrees and two bags of leftovers is only $36.  I commit to eating at Thai Sookdee again.  I do! I do!  

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