CONTACT by John Weidman, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. Presented by David and Ed Mirvish, Lincoln Centre, Scott Nederlander and Clear Channel Entertainment at the Canon Theatre (244 Victoria). Runs to December 15, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $26-$94. 416-872-1212. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
contact won the 2000 tony Award for best musical, but the touring production now at the Canon Theatre makes me think of other bests it might have won.Such as: best middlebrow baby boomer musical, or best indication that swing dancing is truly over.
Director/choreographer Susan Stroman gives us three vignettes loosely linked by their use of movement (there's minimal dialogue) to explore the theme of making contact.
Sexual contact? Of course. It's there in the opening piece, a trifle inspired by a Fragonard painting that involves a swing and a lot of phallic imagery with a wine bottle. It's also in the final number about a self-destructive ad exec who lusts after a mystery woman in a yellow dress.
But there's also the theme of emotional contact, as in the moving middle piece about a woman who entertains Walter Mittyish fantasies about her loutish husband in an Italian restaurant in the 50s.
The problem is that the premises can be spotted a mile away -- these are skits with dance. Stroman's choreography is competent, the dancing fine, but the show lacks the drama to make us do more than tap our toes.