MIT G&S Players' PRINCESS IDA - APRIL 11 AT SALA DE PUERTO RICO, STUDENT CENTER, MIT...I was unhappy with the first act, until I thought about it. Then I realized that the large and expressive King Hildebrand (David Stickney) and the bent and annoying King Gama (Eric Harder) were actually doing quite well. Hilarion and his friends were better than I at first realized, too. What had been bothering me was the stage direction. Many of the actions seemed forced, "we'd better do something here," or even worse, inappropriate. But musically the show was extremely good. (I was with a friend in whose musical judgment I have complete confidence, so I don't have to hedge about my musical evaluations this time.) Lady Psyche (Alida Griffith) and Melissa (Grace Colon) were very effective. I was very surprised to hear my friend express disappointment in the lovely Princess Ida (Sallyanne Powers), but he explained that she was merely very good this night, while he knew that if not tired she was capable of greatness. [Inside info: Sally had a stomach bug during the second weekend of the show, and was in the rest-room between every scene! -mlc] But we agreed that the chorus did achieve greatness, musically. (On reflection, I think I recall that MIT's choruses are always extremely good; maybe I shouldn't feel so bad about never having gotten past the auditions with that group.)
The women's chorus was especially effective in "Death to the Invader," with the percussive contribution from the clash of spears as they pivoted in formation. Hilarion seemed a bit more than "barely twenty-two," but he did justice to his B-flat in "Whom thou hast chained." And the brothers, Arac, Guron, and Scynthius, though generally disappointing, were very convincing in "We may remark, though nothing can dismay us."
-- DICK FREEDMAN