Round and round and round we go. La Ronde surfaces again as Michael John LaChiusa’s Hello Again at the Union Theatre
“I’ve been searching high and low
For you but then
What does it matter?
It is a universal truth that you’re never too far away from some adaptation or another of Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde. It’s been gay, it’s been musical, it’s been gender-neutral, it’s been Hollywood, and now it is back to being musical again, with the Union Theatre’s revival of Michal John LaChiusa’s Hello Again.
LaChiusa’s adaptation sets each of its ten scenes in a different decade of the twentieth century, aiming for a broad investigation of how, if at all, love and sex have changed over the years. This also allows him to cherrypick from a much wider range of musical styles than if he’d stuck with the original’s 1890 Vienna.
The device of interlocking couples – each scene features a pair of lovers, one of whom then appears in the next scene – is a gift for an egalitarian company, though it is interesting to see director Paul Callen use ensemble members here to frame some musical interludes and flesh out the staging of some of the sequences.
But there’s not quite enough sexiness here to really perk the interest, it feels a PG version of what ought to be at least a 15. That said, there’s some strong vocal work, Amy Parker’s Actress and Alice Ellen Wright’s Nurse both stand out amid Henry Brennan’s free-flowing musical direction.