Joust OK

A cut-down Camelot comes to Fair Park; in Jack and Jill, love has ups and downs

York, at 65, does look like he's having a ball in the spotlight. His best film roles—Tybalt in Zeffirelli's Romeo and Juliet (1968), Brian in Cabaret (1972), D'Artagnan in The Three Musketeers (1973)—are memorable but long ago. Other than the cameos with Mike Myers and one episode of The Simpsons (as Mason Fairbanks), this good actor has been slumming it in guest shots on Gilmore Girls and as the lead in one of those wretched Omega Code movies.

Michael York's not terrible in Camelot. Just...pleasant. He is an Arthur who never kicks it into second gear and rarely bothers to shift into first. He is perfectly content to idle as a king.

In something titled Jack and Jill, exactly what you expect to happen does. The title characters go up and down, tumbling in and out of love until they land splat in a puddle of misery. In two hours of short scenes, this minor play unfolds as a comedy, more or less. It's certainly not pure drama, even if the overdose of downer clichés does inspire the urge to seek out an antidote—say, something co-created by Ben and Jerry.
Michael York, best known as Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers movies, sleepwalks through his role as King Arthur in Camelot.
Michael York, best known as Basil Exposition in the Austin Powers movies, sleepwalks through his role as King Arthur in Camelot.


Camelot continues through June 3 at the Music Hall at Fair Park. Call 214-631-2787.

Jack and Jill continues at the Studio at WaterTower Theatre. Call 970-452-6232.

The two-act, two-actor comedy, now winding up the season for Second Thought Theatre at WaterTower's Studio space, is the work of the pseudonymous playwright "Jane Martin," who is generally believed to be a man, Jon Jory, artistic director of Actors' Theatre of Louisville, though he denies being Martin. Smart guy. Who'd want to take credit for the piffle passed off as wit in Jack and Jill?

The play presents two people who meet (in a library) and get involved. But they fight a lot, mostly because Jill is a hateful stereotype of a woman with ambitions greater than marriage and childbearing. Played by a tightly wound Kristin McCollum, Jill's a med student imbued with the personality of a wet viper. She hisses and strikes at Jack, played by Mike Schraeder, for the slightest intrusions on her space and time. She says things like "Don't confuse love with leverage," whatever that means. At their wedding she tells Jack, "I love you...or something."

Jack paddles along behind this bee-otch like a pup, taking abuse and begging for attention. She complains that he's "so generous, it's like water torture." Sure, that's what women hate—men who commit generosity.

It plods on with lines cluttered end to end with "ums" and "you knows" and "I don't knows." Example from Jack: "I am really very, um...we just shouldn't. You know what I mean?" Um, no. And don't care.

Directed by Doug Miller, Jack and Jill is a title in search of characters in search of humanity, with gimmicks aplenty (see how they change clothes for every scene in full view of the audience). As romantic comedy it wants to be Annie Hall or maybe Sex & the City. But it pales in comparison to those and as a piece for the stage just doesn't hold water.

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