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Dance Review

Baggage Burdens Reichlin's 'Oz' Tale

April 09, 2002|VICTORIA LOOSELEAF | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It's a credit to Louise Reichlin and Dancers that the artistic director-choreographer would have the courage to update a classic by the author of "The Wizard of Oz" and nearly get away with it. Bonnets off to Reichlin, then, and her hard-working troupe on their take on the lesser-known L. Frank Baum story "The Patchwork Girl of Oz," a two-part multimedia program performed Sunday at USC's Alfred Newman Recital Hall.

Admittedly, the opus is geared for kids, but there was a lot going on choreographically to sate a dance lover's appetite--sunny leaps and marching motifs prevailed. Too bad Reichlin felt the need to overload her staging with unnecessary videos, occasionally oddball music and an uber-aggressive narration. If Reichlin trusted her instincts and let her adaptation unfold on its own, she could, perhaps, develop a perennial work.

Flaws aside, there was some jubilant dancing: Janell Burgess (Patchwork Girl), Adrienne Fisher (Ojo), Wil-son Williams and Brian Pelletier in a number of roles, and Sarah Jenkins as an arms-and-legs-akimbo Scarecrow.

Linda Borough's colorful costumes pleased and there was a certain naive quality that grabbed at the heart. Judy Garland would have approved.

This program repeats April 21 at Los Angeles Theatre Center, 514 S. Spring St., Los Angeles, 3 p.m. (213) 485-1681. $10.

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