Town Hall Arts Theatre: 2/17 – 3/18
The production of Lerner and Loewe’s “Brigadoon” now on view at Town Hall Arts in Littleton is a charmer. Directed at a brisk pace by Christopher Willard, this old warhorse comes to life with freshness and vigor. Willard adds humor with a few additions of comments that bring Brigadoon up to date. (One of the hunters can’t find “Brigadoon” on his GPS for instance.) It’s by far the best production of this show that this reviewer has ever seen. This tale of the Scottish village that arises out of the mists for one day every hundred years is full of great tunes. True, upon arriving at the theatre I wasn’t sure if those old favorites of yesteryear would really hold up. One can’t help wondering if songs such as “I’ll Go Home With Bonnie Jean” and “Come to Me, Bend To Me” would really be able to charm as they once did. And they do! Big time! Tim Howard’s glorious tenor and vital stage presence guarantee that they do. Alison Mueller’s Fiona is adorable and her vocals luscious. David Ambroson gives us vocal magnificence throughout. His “Almost Like Being in Love” is unforgettable. The sword dance by Harry (Ryan Buehler) is powerful. Joey Wishnia has never been better than he is here performing the role of the old sage, Mr. Lundy. Wishnia doubles as dialect coach and has succeeded better than many in this fair city as far as creating the sound of the Scottish tongue in the mouths of this fine cast. Yet he doesn’t make it so authentic we can’t understand it. You won’t need to worry about hearing phrases such as “Lang may yer lum reek.” (Live long and prosper.) or “Yer bum’s out the windae!”(“You’re talking rubbish.)”Kelly Kates keeps the choreography lively by spiking the traditional with flashes of novelty. You will be glad to know that the lighting is by Jacob Welch and the sound design by John Rivera. Tina Anderson’s set design is successful in a simple visual description of Scotland. Mary Dailey’s music direction is outstanding. The very fine costume design by Jimmy Miller will make ya feel as though ye were viewin’ an early version of “Forever Plaid.” (Just kidding, Jimmy. Very nice work.) Donna Debreceni has created some superb orchestral tracks to accompany the stellar voices. Besides all this there are live bagpipers onstage. And you know what deep feeling can be roused by this instrument. Think “Brave Heart. ”Ronni Gallup’s (Maggie) dance of mourning is what stood out above all to my guest for the evening. It was deeply moving indeed. Only “The Chase” at the top of Act Two is a wee disconcerting. Everyone in the cast runs up and down the aisles and around in circles and out the exits until everyone is sweaty and out of breath and I felt I wasn’t so much spending an evening at the theatre as avoiding my exercise plan over at Bally’s. And glad I was for that as well, laddies.
Not to be missed!
Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St. in Littleton, 303-794-2787
Tickets start at $21; visit www.townhallartscenter.com