“GYPSY”, by Steppin’ Out Theatre Reply

Review by Tina Gaisin


We knew we were in for a great Broadway evening! Gypsy’s origins are based on the memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee- a famous 50’s striptease artist!  The original music was by Jule Styne with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and based on the book by Arthur Laurents.  This play adaptation focuses on Gypsy’s mother- Rose, who is the ultimate “Show Business bossy Mom”!

the future GYPSY learning about 'gimmicks' from the older strippers

the future GYPSY learning about ‘gimmicks’ from the older strippers

In Steppin’ Out Theate Production’s rendition, they had the audience engaged right from the get-go.  The orchestra started the Overture and all that could be seen in the audience were the heads bopping and the toes tapping!    The production team considers everything from staging, props and costumes… this show is no different. They make utilize the entire stage, hanging windows from the rafters to the little things like moving staircases on the floor.  Everything looked beautiful and the costumes were gorgeous and well thought out,
The story of Gypsy is about Rose; played by Daphne Moens, and her two daughters through whom she lives vicariously .  In this ireration,  we have modern day Vaudeville, but the conflict between parent and child always lives on.  Rose definitely shows her acting talents in body language, projection & her beautiful singing; she also displays her maternal love, however misguided.  Rose is a complicated character.
Louise is the oldest shy daughter who Rose constantly ignores in favor of June who is cute and sweet!   Baby June played by 10-year-old Robyn Ashley MacDonald – one of the highlights of the show.  She dazzled us with her “Shirley Temple type” cuteness with her singing, dancing and rhythmic gymnastics ability.   Her cute little squeaky scream is so very cute!  Watch for her in future productions… she is as extroverted as her character. There are a lot of different characters, but what Steppin’ Out does is use characters that are not prominent as the ensemble and thus manage to get everyone in the limelight Rose’s suitor – Herbie  is portrayed by Gord Peters, and the two display such magnetism and connection as to appear very believable as a couple. They both have beautiful voices, with an awesome stage presence. The children onstage were amazing; not just the June character but all of them & their own unique personalities.   As the girls transition to their teenage years the transformation onstage was credible…and older June (Beckie Saslove) does a great job of recreating that cute little girl down to the splits. Noticeable among the support roles is Agnes aka Amanda (Lauren Wolanski) who makes a strong impression!
In Act II the unfortunate microphone issues subsided and the entire cast really had fun. Louise (Sara Alexander) enhanced her acting/singing with attractive little pouty nuances. Unfortunately, the mirror on stage right was positioned so that much of the audience misses her in her last scene with her mother. Although witnessing the action through a “looking glass” was a creative directorial bit. This Reviewer loved the show. It is somewhat long but shortened from the original.   “GYPSY” is at the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts until Sunday. SOTP’s next performance is “Your Song”; a musical tribute which opens on June 6th.

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