I had the pleasure of watching the final dress rehearsal of Lend Me a Tenor produced by the Rex Putnam theatre department. The show was energetic, funny, and lighthearted but had its fair share of issues. Overall, the acting throughout the show was great but there were frequent issues that often distracted from the performance.
A very prominent aspect of the show that was present throughout the performance was the use of an Italian accent, these accents were incredibly believable and very well done. I wasn’t able to notice a moment when the accent slipped or when it didn’t sound how it was supposed to, which I found very impressive. There was also some Italian spoken in the performance, my favorite moment with this was when the Bellhop, played by Abram Harrel, was apologizing to Maria, played by Serena Mason. The Italian flowed beautifully and felt natural as you couldn’t see the actors focusing on remembering the Italian, making it seem very real. The opening moment of the play was one of the weakest, in my opinion. Maggie, played by Rhyann Butler, didn’t truly feel as though she was listening to the radio. The moment lasted slightly to lung, making it more awkward, something else I noticed was that though she tried to mouth the words at certain parts it was clear she didn’t truly know the song which broke the believability for me. The comedy throughout the performance was extremely well done, the timing worked incredibly well. I was impressed that the actors were able to maintain believability throughout such a complicated miscommunication. One of my favorite examples of this is when Maggie returns to the hotel room with Tito waiting, and the drawn out event of the autograph. Something that really threw me off is the scene when Max, played by Alex Mehigan, is putting the pills in Tito’s wine. The pills are not only incredibly visible to both the audience and the actors but aren’t even properly swallowed by Tito. The pills being very visible could certainly contribute to the comedy in this scene if it weren’t immediately followed by the pills not even being swallowed. A frequent issue I noticed in multiple scenes were actors bumping into the main coffee table, it was something that drew attention to the small space of the stage, especially because it was a consistent issue that was present throughout the performance. My favorite character in the play was by far Julia, played by Jami Norris. Her entrance, the first time you see her, was amazing. From the moment you saw her you knew exactly what her character would be, a very skillful move by the actor.
The technical aspects of the show were done very well. The use of sound to support the opera music was done really well. A frequent distraction, however, was when multiple wall hangings fell throughout the show when doors were slammed. The costumes throughout the play I also really liked, though I found Max’s costume a little stereotypical though it didn’t end up affecting the performance much. I thought the costume changes were done very well, and I was impressed with how quickly they were accomplished.
Overall, Lend Me A tenor was an incredibly fun play and a joy to watch. Though it had many small issues, they could be easily fixed and didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the performance. I would recommend this show to anyone who likes a well-crafted miscommunication followed by wonderful chaos. This wonderful production will be continuing its run through November 9th. It has performances at 7:00 on the 7th, 8th, and 9th as well as a 2:00 matinee on the 9th.