The Apple Tree
Last year, the Fair Oaks Theatre Festival gave us a rousing rendition of a little-produced musical called Sugar. It was perfect lightweight fare for the annual outdoor summer program. This year, the festival chose The Apple Tree, another musical that hasn’t been revived much since its Broadway debut in 1966. Unfortunately, the results aren’t quite as endearing, and it soon becomes clear why this Apple isn’t picked too often. The Apple Tree is actually a collection of three short musicals, all exploring love and all narrated by Raymond Keller. The first, The Diary of Adam and Eve, is a humorous look at the first man-woman conflicts. The talented team of Daniel Slauson, Analise Langford-Clark and Keller (as the Snake) all starred in last year’s Sugar.
The second act is The Lady or the Tiger, based on the famous short story about love and hard choices. This is the most problematic of the three. It never really hits its stride, but the large cast, creative dancers and wild costumes make it fun. The third act is Passionella, a quirky modern version of Cinderella starring an endearing Liesel Hanson and her tap-dancing suitor, Dakota Cox.
The main problem facing The Apple Tree is the unmemorable songs. By the end, they all start to sound the same. However, the talented cast, crew and director Bob Irvin—along with the gracious staff and fun atmosphere of the handsome, intimate Veterans Memorial Amphitheatre—make it an enjoyable night of outdoor entertainment. You may not be whistling any of the tunes as you leave The Apple Tree, but it’s still a summer evening of theater under the stars.