Once in awhile I meet some special who just lights up the room with her smile and charisma. Whose energy is infectious. Who is delightful from her head to her toes. My most recent encounter with such an enchanting sort occurred this past Sunday night at the opening performance of Emma—A Musical Romantic Comedy at the Old Globe Theatre. This classic literary character, penned originally and exquisitely by Jane Austen, has been brought to life by the darling Patti Murin and is certain to charm even the grinchiest of grinches.
This feel-good show was composed by Tony Award nominee Paul Gordon, and directed by Tony Award nominee Jeff Calhoun. Captivating and endearing were the two words I kept saying over and over again to my date, who happened to be a girlfriend since I mistakenly thought the show would be too chick-flicky for my husband. But in retrospect I think my husband would have enjoyed the show tremendously, for its quick wit, catchy tunes and overall impressive production value. The clever love story is peppered with snark, sass and simple one-liners that find their way into the most unpredictable yet perfect moments throughout the show. Just when I found myself engrossed in a plot line, a bit of sarcasm via song would make me literally LOL. I even fell pray to the occasional knee slap. Yes, I did.
The mischievous matchmaker Emma had me at her first note. With the unbridled charm of Elle Woods and the calculated naiveté of Roxie Hart, it’s next to impossible to not fall in love with her, both the character and the actress, Ms. Murin. Adam Monley plays the handsome and debonair Mr. Knightly with a perfect mix of machismo and comedic timing. He reminded me of a cross between Hugh Jackman and Liev Schreiber, which can only be a good thing. Am I right, ladies? The cat/mouse, love/hate affair between the two is as engaging as the onscreen tryst between Bruce & Cybill in Moonlighting (please don’t tell me if you’re too young to know that reference!). Their tension is palpable and luscious.
With nary a dull moment, every aspect of the show kept my full attention and captured my full heart. From the dynamite ensemble cast to the cleverly designed set, full of a moving round-a-bout stage a la Les Miserables and a tiered maze of shrubbery, it was constant entertainment. To spice up this sugary review, I’d love to throw in something nasty, but I simply have nothing negative to say about this show. It’s perfect for a girl’s night out OR a date night. And don’t forget Valentine’s Day is coming up (though the theatre is dark on Mondays so you’d have to celebrate a day before or after actual V-day).
If you have a pulse, you will adore this show. And when you leave the theatre, you’ll be singing the lyrics, “I made the match myself” through your perma-grin.
Emma—A Musical Romantic Comedy runs now through March 6th. Tickets can be purchased on The Old Globe site or at their box office in Balboa Park. The theatre offers Post Show Forums on Tuesday, February 1st and Wednesday, February 9th, which are great ways to meet the cast and gain some insight into the making of the show. There is no extra charge for the forums.