"A babelicious Auntie Mame"

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The first review is in of the musical production of Emma at Theatreworks in California.

Lianne Marie Dobbs couldn’t be a more scrumptious Emma, the 21-year-old landowner’s daughter whose advice wreaks havoc for anyone who admires her.

Dobbs plays Emma as more of a hurricane than a spring shower, a babelicious Auntie Mame.

Hee! One can rather imagine Miss Woodhouse saying “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!” Though perhaps not in those exact words.

Timothy Gulan doesn’t fade into the woodwork long as Mr. Knightley, Emma’s brother-in-law and longtime pal. He complements Emma more with every insult, the wise-guy she needs more than she needs Mr. Churchill. As the leading mouthpiece for Gordon, Gulan gets a lot of the best lyrics, which are witty and full of great interior rhyming. The latter is also a component of the title song, to which Gulan imparts the longing no one was sure was part of the Knightley character, to a tune reminiscent of Jeffrey Osborne’s “On the Wings of Love.”:

“Emma, the heart wants what it wants./And it haunts me constantly when I’m with you./Emma, my soul lies at your feet./I have been discreet but now I’m overdue.”

You’ll hear that at the wedding of more than one Emma, I reckon.

Oh, we want to see this now.