And the World Goes Round (which was originally conceived by Scott Ellis, Susan Stroman, and David Thompson) is a feast for fans of Kander and Ebb, and a great introduction to their work for the uninitiated. Since their shows often have a European sensibility that (unlike a lot of traditional U.S. musical fare) cannot guarantee a happy ending or a simplistic working out of plot, much of their work has never achieved the popular status of earlier teams such as Lerner and Loewe, and Rodgers and Hart. It's too complicated. Too dark. A little too real, perhaps.
And the World Goes Round makes no attempt to sugar the sometimes bitter twists of Kander and Ebb's work, but hearing it in a different context, surrounded by work that is also by turns touching, lyrical, sexy, and even hilarious, lends the whole body a very human face. The emphasis is always on a "life (that) keeps happening every day."
As enjoyable as musical revues can be, they still have pitfalls. For example, And the World Goes Round suffers from a complete lack of conversation between songs that might serve to give the evening a sense of story. Such, perhaps, is the drawback of the revue form. This puts the actors in the position of having to rediscover a through-line with each song, which occasionally leaves the audience wishing for a bit more clarity.
It would also have been nice to see the characters able to settle more into Janie F. Howland's darkly appealing bi-level cabaret (appropriately lit by Christopher Ostrom), with its intimate tables and lonely spaces. A conversational interlude would also serve to allow the complexity of some of Kander and Ebb's tapestried songs to sink in before moving on to the next offering at lightning-speed. But this is a small criticism of a thoroughly enjoyable production. If spring is making you want to sing and dance, The Lyric's And the World Goes Round should give you both a great evening of entertainment and plenty of new material for the shower.
Caroline Nesbitt is the third generation of her family to act. She is a performer with Underground Railway Theatre, Seacoast Repertory Theatre, New Art Theatre, and the New Hampshire Performing Arts Center, and is the artistic director of Advice to the Players. She also teaches acting, and is an author and essayist.