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'Whim' lacks 'Wind' power

Some impressive performances cannot rescue a new take on the classic Margaret Mitchell tale.

June 23, 2003|Lewis Segal | Times Staff Writer

Josie Walsh's "Gone With the Whim" shouldn't be looked at too closely. At the Ivar Theatre in Hollywood, this energetic two-act contemporary dance musical displayed so many problems of structure, narrative, characterization and tone on Saturday that it clearly reflected the philosophy that tomorrow is another day -- for rewrites.

Only a few minutes longer than the intermission, Act 1 wasted time with lame media satire and never established a persuasive millennial perspective on Margaret Mitchell's familiar plot and characters.

What happened to Melanie (renamed Olivia) proved especially arbitrary and confusing despite skillful dancing from Ashlee Wilcox. Moreover, changing Rhett (renamed Clark) into a brutal wife-stalker left hard-working Rustin Matthew with only one note to play all evening long.

Act 2 had its moments, however, especially the scene in which the men were called to war -- the new war, our war -- and singer-composer Paul Rivera kept asking the pertinent question, "How will we know when it's over?"

Indeed, the rock score played by Rivera's band Surve proved the strongest creative component in "Gone With the Whim": fiercely compelling and superbly danceable, releasing the cadre of virtuosi in Walsh's 15-member Myo company to thrilling demonstrations of prowess.

Unfortunately, the aerial expertise of Ingrid Hoffman often got lost in the choreographic confusion, but Walsh and Matthew excelled in the demanding duet defining and resolving the Scarlett/Rhett relationship.

As Ashley (renamed Leslie), Demian Boergadine looked as sensational in hip-hop challenges as ballet partnering, and as the leading lady named "Starlett," Christina Marie Norrup anchored the 90-minute performance with powerful pop singing embellished with flights of coloratura.

However, she couldn't make us care. In the end, she stood before us, bruised but indomitable, insisting that as God was her witness, she would survive this show. But frankly, my dear....


"Gone With the Whim"

Where: Ivar Theatre, 1605 Ivar St., Hollywood

When: June 27 and 28, 8 p.m.; June 29, 7 p.m.

Price: $25 presale, $30 at the door

Contact: (213) 481-1028

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