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Dinner Theaters' Menus Sparkle With Fun : 'I Do! I Do!'

March 14, 1986|ELISABETH GRAHAM

The Grand Dinner Theatre's production of "I Do! I Do!" is true to the familiar dinner theater tradition--crisp, entertaining and utterly untroubled by subtlety.

Director Gary Davis and players Ken Berry and Brenda Thomson leave no room for boredom, providing a seamless diversion that charms although it tends to cool the considerable warmth of the show. "I Do! I Do!" is based on the 1951 comedy-drama "The Fourposter," which depicts the lives of Michael and Agnes, an early 20th-Century couple. Fifty years of their marriage take them through the anxiety of pregnancy, the pain of infidelity and finally the wisdom of old age. There are infinite emotional possibilities in the script, but the Grand's production wastes no time with tenderness. It's all show-biz dazzle.

Berry and Thomson both have fine stage voices that amply fill the musical demands of the show. Berry has a naturally endearing quality that wears well, and Thomson is similarly charming. They give contemporary-flavored performances that are calculated to please--so calculated, though, that their characters become almost superfluous. They become performers whose songs are star turns rather than character pieces and whose style is seldom cramped by delicacy. Those rare occasions of understated emotion come late in the show as the couple see their children marry and prepare to move out of their house and into a smaller apartment. Happily, Berry and Thomson use a light touch in these scenes that lends a suitable shade of sentimentality to the finale.

Davis' set design is Disney-pretty and provides what little period detail the production has. The live keyboard and percussion accompaniment serves nicely.

"I Do! I Do!" continues through April 6 at the Grand Dinner Theatre, 7 Freedman Way, Anaheim. For information, call (714) 772-7710.

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