The Theater: Reel Sad

MACK & MABEL

Book by MICHAEL STEWART

Music and Lyrics by

JERRY HERMAN

Direction and Choreography by

GOWER CHAMPION

You can make people believe in the presence of an invisible being onstage —say, Harvey the rabbit—but you cannot make people believe in invisible silent movies. The reason may be that no one has ever seen a 6-ft. rabbit, whereas almost everyone has seen some silent films. At any rate, this is the chief trouble that plagues Mack & Mabel. It is reduced to telling without effectively or plausibly showing.

The musical's promise was that it could conjure up the madcap mayhem of the Keystone Kops, the antic nostalgic...

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