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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

In Tandem Entertains With ‘The Apple Tree’

Theater Review

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“Be careful what you ask for. You just might get it.” These all-too-familiar words have an all-too-true meaning for the characters in The Apple Tree, which In Tandem Theatre opened last weekend.

The Apple Tree is actually three separate stories based on Mark Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve, Frank R. Stockton's The Lady or the Tiger? and Jules Feiffer's Passionella.Broadway veterans Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick turned the trio into three one-act musicals that played Broadway in the mid-’60s.

Despite some of the dated material and the very out of place story by Stockton, professional actors keep the audience entertained in collaboration with students from UW-Milwaukee’s departments of music, theater and dance.

In this case, first is best with Twain’s take on the Adam and Eve story. Adam (Luke Leonhardt) soon learns that there’s more than just the animals to name in the Garden of Eden. When Eve (Georgina McKee) turns up, all, um, hell breaks loose as she renames the animals, corrects Adam on Garden life, and clearly is the smarter member of the species. Then, of course, there’s that snake (David Flores), and the rest becomes history.

The main focus of The Apple Tree—and the star of this production—is McKee, who charms and delights her way into the hearts of the audience, be it with her innocent yet knowing portrayal of the very first “first lady” to her affable, poignant portrait of Ella the chimney sweep, who dreams of becoming a movie star (and gets that wish).

Credit must also go to the supporting cast of UWM students, which keeps the enthusiasm high under Jane Flieller’s direction.

The Apple Tree continues through May 16 at the Tenth Street Theatre (628 N. 10th St.).