Thursday, March 13, 2014

Theater Review: Full Gallop Starring Ms. Cherie Gil as Fashion Icon Diana Vreeland

I think one-man shows are some of the most difficult things a theater actor can do. I've watched Joel Trinidad in Defending The Caveman before and was amazed to witness for myself an extraordinary individual who can memorize pages and pages of script and perform it alone for more than one hour. For me, that's an extraordinary feat.

When I heard that Ms. Cherie Gil will be performing a one-woman show called Full Gallop, I knew it would be another special treat for theater enthusiasts. I was right. Her performance last night during the press preview was fantastic!

Ms. Cherie plays fashion icon Diana Vreeland, who was editor of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue magazines. For five decades, this woman stood at the center of American style until she was fired from Vogue at age 70.

Full Gallop portrays Diana at this turning point in her life. The story is set in her Park Avenue, New York apartment in August 1971. She has just come back from a four-month trip to Europe following her dismissal from her job.

While waiting for friends to arrive for her impromptu dinner party, she starts telling stories about the extraordinary people and events of her time. I loved how she chatted away on stage while maintaining a special connection with members of the audience. Bottom line? She drew us into her world.

With her well-spoken words and flamboyant descriptions, it became easier to imagine what it was like to live her life -- meeting famous personalities, traveling to amazing places, and simply living what looked like a charmed life. 

It was kind of mesmerizing to watch Ms. Cherie bring Diana to life. Aside from pensive moments, we also got to laugh during several scenes because her words and facial expressions were really hilarious. I love the part when she was arranging bouquets of flowers in vases, describing colors of nightgowns (I still can't get over "greige"!) and sometimes, when she is talking to her maid, Yvonne, via the intercom.

Ms. Cherie is perfect for the role because she has the range and patrician demeanor to play the woman who was a major force in shaping culture, style, taste, and even language for all time. Full Gallop, which is both funny and poignant, explores the brilliance of a woman at a crossroads, for whom life can only be lived as a constant parade of adventures. In her distinctive style, once Diana decides what she'd like to do next, she goes at it "full gallop."

Make sure you catch this amazing play while it's still running. It only has five shows so buy your tickets early!

Full Gallop is written by Mary Louise Wilson and Mark Hampton. It is presented in the Philippines by MyOwn Mann Productions, Inc. and Actor's Actor Inc. by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Plays Limited, London.

The play has the special participation of Giselle Tongi (who did great as Ulla in The Producers) as the voice of Yvonne. The creative team is composed of Bart Guingona (Director), Joey Mendoza (Set Designer), John Batalla (Lighting Designer),  Rajo Laurel (Costume Designer), and Ruben Nazareth (Hair and Make-up).

Bart, Cherie, and Giselle
The creative team for the photo shoot are  Joan Bitagcol (Photo), Sandy Higgins, Mark Higgins, Michael Salientes (Styling), Mark and Sandy Higgins (art direction), and Fanny Serrano (Hair and Make-up).

Full Gallop is set to open with a gala night premiere on March 14 with regular performances on March 15 and 21 at 8:00 p.m. and on March 16 and 23, 2014 at 4:00 p.m. (matinee) at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue corner Sen. Gil Puyat Avenue, Makati City.

For the March 14 gala night, ticket prices are at Php3,000 orchestra center; Php2,000 for orchestra side and loge; and Php1,000 for balcony inclusive of cocktail food and wine provided by Antonio’s Tagaytay. Part of the proceeds from this gala event will go to Virlanie Foundation’s project of building houses in Negros areas that were affected by Typhoon Yolanda.

Tickets  for regular nights are at Php1,500 for orchestra center,  Php1,000 for orchestra and loge, and Php600 for balcony.  For ticket inquiries, call tel. no. 2150788 or 09175378313.  You may also buy tickets through Ticketworld at 8919999 or

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