Diamond Head Theatre productions are generally a spectacle of song and dance. As its one non-musical of the season, Stepping Out offers an assortment of characters and a whole lotta tap dancing … but the singing part of the equation is certainly missed. Camille Michel as Mavis takes the lead as a tap dance teacher for an adult beginners class in London. The actors put in the effort, complete with British accents that are easy on the ears. But without much of a plot, the excitement relies on a cast of odd and quirky personalities assembling for class. Yet none of them are odd or quirky enough. Standouts alongside Michel are Claire Fallon as a timid woman in dowdy, oversized sweaters, and then there’s the showy Tracey Villiger, cheeky Tabitha Humphrey, Suzanne Green as a clean freak and Alison L. B. Maldonado as a woman with flair and attitude.
The action all takes place in the dance studio where one man and a group of ladies, with their various idiosyncrasies, gather for lessons. The dysfunctional little family looks forward to the class as their escape or fulfillment. When Mavis announces that they’ll be putting on a show, the bumbling group responds with a mixture of glee and apprehension. The idea is that as they interact with each other, we’ll learn a bit about each character’s background, but we never learn enough to become emotionally involved.
Director John Rampage notes in the playbill a happy familiarity with the various characters in Stepping Out, having been an adult dance class teacher himself for the past 20 years. He also points out that of the 10 actors, most have no previous dance training, not to mention tap experience – that alone is commendable.
the TICKET stub
When: Through Feb. 16
Where: Diamond Head Theatre
More Info: 733-0274, diamondheadtheatre.com
Japan’s popular manga character, Doraemon, arrives at Bishop Museum Feb. 15-April 20. The blue, time-traveling, robotic cat is coming to America as what Japan has termed its “anime ambassador.” The exhibit will include giant images, a video theatre and an art gallery all featuring Doraemon (bishopmuseum.org).
“The exhibit introduces a contemporary cultural icon of the Pacific to our community, and is geared specifically as a family friendly exhibit. These are commitments Bishop Museum works toward as part of its mission,” says museum senior vice president of public programs Carol E. Diebel.
Doraemon creator Fujiko F Fujio is said to have had a special affinity to drawing for children, but Diebel points out that Doraemon’s significance goes beyond being simply a character that children relate to:
“The equivalent I have used is Mickey Mouse – also a cultural or anime ambassador. It is much more than a child’s cartoon. Doraemon is the most recognized animation character in Asia and is a wonderful combination of innocence and imagination. All cultures can relate to that.”
The exhibit works as an introduction to anime, but for existing anime fans and artists, it also includes original Doraemon artwork.