SYNCOPATION by Allan Knee, directed by Kelly Robinson, with Cynthia Dale and Geordie Johnson. Presented by David and Ed Mirvish in association with Fundamentally Film and MTC at the Winter Garden (189 Yonge). Runs to March 16, Tuesday-Saturday 8 pm, matinees Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday 2 pm. $35-$60. 416-872-1212. Rating: NN Rating: NNNNN
syncopation drops the beat. and the ball. Allan Knee's utterly predictable two-hander about a Jewish meat packer who yearns to be a ballroom dancer and the Italian seamstress who becomes his dancing partner in 1911 New York is a throwback to an earlier age of lightweight comedy, when the audience didn't have to work to get the slight plot or the point about this seemingly mismatched couple.
You know from the minute the cautious Anna Bianchi (Cynthia Dale) walks into the studio rented by Henry Ribolow (Geordie Johnson) that she'll be slow to warm up to his passion, that they'll fight and eventually resolve their problems. A prime-time sitcom gives you as many surprises and as much entertainment.
While Dale offers not a single moment of believable emotion, Johnson has the energy and charm to make his dreamy hoofer-wannabe engaging. He's not a bad dancer either, in Sergio Trujillo's period dances, which have their own winning qualities.
Too bad the sentimental, half-baked script doesn't.