Souvenir Stephen Temperley | Jungle Theater - 2008 | Photos: Michal Daniel
So bad she was good - Minneapolis / St. Paul Magazine
“The latest Jungle production is simply brilliant...a lovingly crafted and executed homage to the peculiar persona that was Florence Foster Jenkins... Claudia Wilkens flawlessly recreates the profoundly flawed intonation of Jenkins’ singing, and imbues her character with a large heart and a boundless ego, making her both sympathetic and strange...
Souvenir strikes just the right note - St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Artistic bliss!...Director Joel Sass resists any temptation to allow these broad characters to descend into caricatures. His deft handling of the script allows the audience to ride on that very fine line between laughing with Jenkins and McMoon and laughing at them...As Florence, Claudia Wilkens brings acres of dignity, certitude, good cheer and a finally heartbreaking sense of vulnerability to the role....Peter Vitale as McMoon contributes more than just reactions shots - he is a gentle and persuasive voice of perspective and reason...”
A tale of two misfits - Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Joel Sass’ sumptuous production - laden with delicious double edges - moves this play beyond what could be a single joke about a singer who couldn’t sing into a charming tale of two misfits who each seek the same thing: recognition as an artist... As set designer, Sass adorns the music parlor with a sumptuous crimson scheme, all gussied up with holiday bows and a Christmas tree in the corner. The costuming is ridiculously sublime, with Rich Hamson decking out Jenkins in schemes that climb over-the-top, right up to the moment when she emerges in blinding white with angel’s wings...”
Sing out loud, Sing out strong - HowWasTheShow.com
“Directed and designed by Joel Sass, the Jungle’s new production of Souvenir is without a doubt the most hilarious play I have seen this season, yet it still delivered on the other element that initially drew me to it: heart.....Though I admit to laughing out loud, and with enough frequency to make my sides ache, Souvenir is also a thoughtful play that questions the criteria upon which people judge the value and importance of art...
Screech appeal - Twin Cities Decider
“Sass delivers a production which transforms Jenkins’ vocal travesty into an undeniably polished, frothy entertainment...it explores all sorts of twisty byways involving privilege and art, self-perception, and public image...