The Girl Who Waters the Basil


2redfringeMaureen rates it:

A pocket opera, according to the program, contains “one scale; four voices and three players”. The Girl who Waters the Basil and the Inquisitive Prince follows this traditional form  as it tell the tale of Irene Girly Girl, the daughter of a lowly shoemaker, and her wooing by the mischievous Prince. The story which draws chiefly from a play by Federico Garcia Lorca and a folk tale called “The Basil Patch” is more or less your run of the mill love story of trickery, betrayal and the eventual happily ever after. The show keeps a sense of humor throughout especially provided by the gleefully silly narrator played by Cory Davis.

Unfortunately, The Girl who Waters the Basil, suffered from what appeared to be a lack of preparedness. As I read the bios of the three principal singers, Robert Baker, Rebecca Ocampo, and James Shaffran, I was impressed by the experienced singers involved in the production and excited to hear them perform. Yet, my enthusiasm wilted when all three singers preformed from behind music stands and read from sheet music the majority of the show. This took me out of the story completely.

I can appreciate the rare talent that these artists possess in being able to sing opera, but but one of the more challenging aspects of theater is getting an audience to believe in the characters and become invested in the story. Having the performers on stage with music stands or books obscured the characters and did not allow me as an audience member to suspend any disbelief.

Aside from that rather glaring part of the show, the script had an amusing self-awareness and Cory Davis’s excellent comic timing helped keep the show lively. Davis’s interplay with clarinetist, David Jones, is among the funniest parts. The musicians, David Jones, Richard O’Meara, Molly Orlando, are led by conductor Douglas Boyce who is even allowed to get in on the act from time to time, with humorous results.

While The Girl who Waters the Basil does provide some enjoyable moments, the extensive talents of the cast and musicians are wasted for the most part on this predictable love story.

The Girl who Waters the Basil and the Inquisitive Prince   buy

Directed by Jodi Kanter
Reviewed by Mo O’Rourke


  1. Tim Treanor Slammo the Whale says:

    Actually, Blammo, I am familiar with that tradition. We call it “donating” in these parts. But donations should be voluntary, and done by people who are fully aware of what they’re getting in return for their fifteen bucks. I appreciate that the reviewer let us know what we’re in for.

  2. Blammo the Aardvark says:

    Perhaps Slammo the Whale is completely unaware of the strong and long-standing tradition of people who shell out plenty of money to see semi-staged or concert versions of opera and musical theater and leave perfectly happy. Perhaps the reviewer should have done her homework before showing up to a performance in a genre she is unfamiliar with.

  3. Slammo the Whale says:

    Perhaps sarble the eye is completely unaware of the strong and long standing tradition that when people shell out their money to see a show, they don’t expect to see a reading.

  4. sarble the eye says:

    is the reviewer completely unaware of the strong and long standing tradition of semi-staged operas, especially in workshops/premieres? if so, how was she chosen for such an assignment?



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