Tuesday, November 6, 2012

BRIGADOON

Music by Frederick Loewe, Lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

Queanbeyan Players

Q Theatre, Queanbeyan  2 November 2012 to 17 November 2012

Reviewed by Len Power



In the current era of jukebox and concept musicals coming out of Broadway, it’s refreshing to have the opportunity to see one of the classic musicals with a story.

‘Brigadoon’ opened on Broadway in 1947 and ran for 581 performances.  Although they had worked together previously, it was this musical that really put composer and lyricist, Lerner and Loewe, on the map.  They went on, of course, to write two of the most famous musicals of all time, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Camelot’.

‘Brigadoon’ requires good singers who can handle the, at times, operatic range of the score.  The large cast of Queanbeyan Players’ production sang the score generally very well.  There was fine singing by Alyssa Morse as Fiona and Gerard Ninnes as Tommy.  Janet Tweedie was a delightful Meg Brockie (pictured below) and Charles Hudson was suitably handsome and confident as Charlie, singing ‘Come To Me, Bend To Me’ particularly well.  Thompson Quan Wing, in a short, featured solo, displayed one of the finest voices in the company.

Janet Tweedie (centre), Paul Jackson (right) and company
Musical director, Jennifer Groom, has done a fine job with the singers and the orchestra.  There was, however, uneven sound at times where some cast members were miked and others were not.  For example, it was difficult to hear the clever lyrics of ‘I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean’.

Phil Perman as the old teacher, Mr Murdoch, was outstanding in the scene where he explains the mystery behind ‘Brigadoon’.  There were also nice performances from Simeon Yialeloglou as the bitter and doomed Harry Ritchie and John Kelly as Harry Ritchie.

The production has a simple setting by the director, Greg Wallace, which works well enough in conjunction with the lighting by Leigh Wilmington.  The pleasing period costumes are by Janetta McRae and Norma Roach.

The choreography by Belinda Hassall was just right for the wedding dance and sword dance at the end of Act One.  However there were times where choreography was unnecessary and distracting.  ‘There But For You Go I’ would have been much more effective without the dancing given to the two singers.

First time director, Greg Wallace, has met the challenge of staging this potentially difficult show rather well.  Yes, the pace of the show was a bit slow here and there, with cast members not picking up on cues quickly enough and using a black curtain for scene changes slowed the show down at times, too.  Still, those things aside, Greg Wallace has produced an entertaining and enjoyable show.

Photograph by Rebecca Doyle Photography
 
Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 4 November 2012

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