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Published: Thursday, 6/10/2010

The Rep's ‘Victor/Victoria' production doubles the fun


Designed to do nothing more than entertain, Victor/Victoria is a rousing success.

Yes, there are flaws, but overall, the Toledo Repertoire Theatre production, presented at Owens Community College's Center for Fine and Performing Arts, delivers an evening of fun.

The play is based on the 1982 film comedy written by Hans Hoemburg and director Blake Edwards as a star turn for Edwards' wife, Julie Andrews, who reprised the role in a 1995 Broadway adaptation.

Basically, it's about Victoria, a soprano who is left high and dry in 1930s Paris when her opera company's manager disappears with all the troupe's money. She is taken under the wing of Toddy, a gay nightclub singer, who persuades her to disguise herself as a man named Victor and perform as a female impersonator named Victoria.

“Victor” becomes the toast of Paris, a position that is threatened when Chicago “businessman” King Marchan attends one of her shows and is instantly smitten. However, because he can't believe that he'd fall for a guy, he sets out to prove Victor really is a woman, which, of course, she is.

Without a good title character the show would fall flat, and Dr. Ann Steck of Delta, Ohio, fills the bill. Her transitions from woman to man to woman is a joy, and her singing voice is full and pleasant.

David James has charisma and a fine sense of comic timing as Toddy, and even if his voice is a wee bit thin, he still steals the audience's heart. Mostly.

The rest of the audience's heart goes to Lindsey Denham as Norma Cassidy, Marchan's ditzy mistress, who gets the best lines of the show.

The other two male leads, Zach Lahey as Marchan and Matt Richardson as his bodyguard, Squash, don't fare as well. They do fine jobs with their roles, but their characters just aren't written as well as the others. When they do get a chance to shine, they take every advantage.

It is also great to hear a live orchestra, led by Josh Glover, even if it occasionally drowns out the singers. Brian Rodabaugh's choreography is lively and often scene-stealing.

Jim Norman keeps the pace moving and tucks extra little pleasures into the show, including an increasingly tipsy chambermaid.

“Victor/Victoria” continues at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sundy in the Owens Community College Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, 30335 Oregon Rd., Perrysburg. Tickets are $22 for adults, $20 for seniors, $10 for students 13 and older, and $5 for youngsters 12 and younger. Information: 419-243-9277.

Contact Nanciann Cherry at: ncherry@theblade.com or 419-724-6130.

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