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Wednesday Morning Roundup
by Stephen Becker 27 Mar 2013

Today in the roundup: An architecture critic slams the Perot, plus reviews of ‘Mary Poppins’ and ‘The Odd Couple.’

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PICKING ON PEROT: It seems like most of the architecture reviews of the Perot Museum of Nature and Science have been positive. Maybe having an exterior escalator goes a long way. But the niceties end at the Los Angeles Times, where architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne rips into Thom Mayne’s design. How bad is it? “It is a thoroughly cynical piece of work, a building that uses a frenzy of architectural forms to endorse the idea that architecture, in the end, is mere decoration. Mayne’s design appears to put innovative architecture on a literal pedestal — or a plinth, to be exact — while actually allowing it to become peripheral, noticeably separate from the heart of the museum and its galleries,” he writes. And if that weren’t enough: “The building’s apparent radicalism is tacked on, its braggadocio paper-thin. Like many of Mayne’s recent buildings, it is a work of architecture without the courage of its convictions — convictions that are shouted, naturally, at top volume.”

EYE-POPPING ‘POPPINS’: The national tour of Mary Poppins is currently in residence at the Music Hall at Fair Park, courtesy of Dallas Summer Musicals. It’s the third time this particular production has stopped through North Texas. But from reading the reviews, it sounds as if it’s a welcome return. “The dancing and musical numbers make up for the faults, and the delightfully thrilling theatrical effects add the perfect finishing touch,” Cheryl Callon writes on theaterjones.com. “Visually, the production is ‘practically perfect’ and should be a joyful treat for people of all ages.” Manuel Mendoza was also swept up in the magic. “If a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, what makes the touring production of Mary Poppins so easy to swallow is the show’s eye-popping design and a story as grounded as it is high-flying, including a surprising amount of social commentary,” is how he begins his dallasnews.com review. Mary Poppins is in town through Saturday.

FELIX AND OSCAR: Mary Poppins isn’t the only familiar face taking the stage at the moment. Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison are taking up residence at the Wyly Theater in Dallas Theater Center’s production of Neil Simon’s The Odd Couple. And it sounds as if these guys are worth revisiting as well. “The meticulous groundwork laid by all involved that results in a such a breezy and hilarious show make this an Odd Couple worth rediscovering,” Lindsay Wilson writes on Front Row. J. Anthony Crane plays Oscar to Michael Mastro’s Felix. And the two actors explain to Lawson Taitte how they went from complete strangers to passable old pals in a feature on dallasnews.com. You can catch The Odd Couple through April 14.

BERNINI EXTENDED: The Kimbell Art Museum announced this morning that it has extended “Bernini: Sculpting in Clay.” The new closing date is May 5. Haven’t been yet? Jerome tells you why you should.

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