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Rosewater Theatre Company4
Average Rating Given : 4.75000
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REVIEWS

The Foreigner, by Larry Shue
The Foreigner is the best fish outta water story
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
5.0
The Foreigner is of course a two-act Southern comedy written by the late great Larry Shue. The show has had a loyal following since its inception and in 2001 Matthew Broderick portrayed the main character Charlie Baker to rave reviews. Now the famous Rosewater theatre has their hands on the show and is sure to attract crowds ready for a few laughs and to stick it to the prejudice that is present in Georgia still. The show is a British fellow on holiday in Georgia who is mistaken for a foreigner do to the chagrin of the Klu Klux Klan.

The Foreigner being presented at the Cumming Playhouse produced by the Rosewater theatre company is a truly amazing show for many reasons. First the location that the show is being played at. Cumming, GA is a area with history notorious for the KKK and for lynch mobs is in the very center for the play. So it is a very gutsy move by the actors and the crew of this brilliant show to come out and take a stand for truth and honor.


First lets start with the direction of the play, here we have Mr. Don Debord a theatre veteran with such an impressive resume and with such talent directing such a difficult show. And the trick is he never misses a beat, the creates an atmosphere for the actors and crew to do their best and for the story to enfold at a great pace. Here we have an actual director who takes part in all the aspects of the show and his fingerprints are everywhere on this show with such a positive influence.

The stage itself becomes more and more of a character as the show progresses, its a very odd stage of course, it is a mixture of ingenuities architecture and a area with comings and goings galore, a sort of fun house with new things popping in and out through the show. The beauty of the set is it is so detailed but does not take away from the show. Interesting how we think the deer heads maybe hearing all the nonsense as well as Charlie.

Brian Baumann just may be the next big thing around and this is certainly his breakout role. Brian does not just go through the motions of portraying Charlie but lives and breathes him to life creating a genuine moving sympathetic and hilarious presence. It is also so incredible the depth he brings to the character of Charlie and we can see in his eyes as he wonders about he got to this point in his life where he a boring loser with an uber-philandering wife. The transition Brian makes from Charlie to Chaa-oo-lee is not only believable but also a textbook example of true artistry and human physical comedy at his best. Brian does steal of course from other great physical comedians but not to make himself look good but to present that the character is a real character that is in such a plight he has to make this up as he goes. Many of you I review many rosewater shows and i have been quite negative with Mr. Baumann in the past, but here Baumann shines and he shows that he is also just having a wonderful time with the character and his infectious quality about him not only wins over the audience with the show but also makes his supporting characters exuberate more excellence in acting. Brian Baumann has found his signature role and is one of the best reasons to come and see this show. Brian Baumann gives the best fish outta water story since Bill Murray in Lost in Translation and that is a fact.

But of course donít forget the supporting cast, they all do their parts to a tee to make this show just "remarkable". Hopefully Danielle Bugay will continue not to be typecast as old spinsters but he is excellent as old Betty Meeks and finds a special naivetť that creates some lighthearted moments that donít have to be gut-bustlingly funny but delightful all the same. Bonnie Coker as Catherine delves into her soul and brings true magic to her character. A true find is Dave Lanni in his first real acting role as the Reverend David Lee. It is always a treat to find new talent and the character of the Reverend is a difficult role to be able to appear as an innocent hero and yet as a scheming bigot that the reverend and Dave Lanni carries his role excellently. It is truly a marvel to see the spirit of the theatre hit unsuspecting people like this. Mercury as Froggy is an added treat to the show and the banter between Froggy and Charlie is a scene of professional actors taking the script and giving the real treatment, Mercury adds true British humor to an otherwise Southern comedy making not just a message to Americans but a world message. Mark Schroeder as Ellard is nothing short of spectacular in a role that requires to play the semblance of a simpleton but with motion that he does know more and everybody else. Schroeder gives us some of the excellent comedy we expect from him and itís always a marvel to watch him.

Brett Tanner does nothing but enthrall the audience with his take on the character of Owen. Here is a actor thatr truly takes the character at home and never stops to work on making the performance better. Here we have the best example of a crowd-pleaser without playing to the audience. Tanner digs deep to bring ther demons and fears of Owen to metamorp them into his own fearsome image disqusing his true self. It is a joy to watch Tanner find Owen funny in his Southern bigotry and yet a sobering scary spectacle as the moments of true racism peeks out. Here is a performance that will stay with you long after the show is over and will haunt you with the presence of true excellence in acting.

The Foreigner is more than just a night at the theatre, it is a message that is exploding to American and more than ever needs to be expressed. The cast and crew find the right tone to leave you breathless and to challenge you to look on your own life and see that life is an adventure to be shared with all. You will be talking about this show long after its over, the performances, the set, direction are all not foreign, nor domestic, just pure perfection human.

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, adapted by Lisa Riley and G. Scott Riley
A terrific show
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
4.0
Roswater theatre does it again! The show A Christmas Carol is one of the most innovative exceptional productions of the Holiday season. Lisa Sherouse Riley proves that British folk make the best shows. From beginning to end the show is a smorgasborg of scenes created witht upmost sense of delicacy and artistic expression. Bill Pacer's Scrooge is much better than previous years. He has learned the tics and the character and produces the icon that we want. The Ghosts especially Paul Simmons truly manifest the Dickens into the play. Its just not a Christmas Carol at the Cumming Playhouse...its DICKENS Christmas Carol and the Cumming Playhouse and the Ghosts, Marley, past, present, future all do superb jobs of transporting us to the time perioud. Other supporting characters do magnificent jobs of being the catalysts to Scrooge's anger and evwentual redemption. G. Scott Riley sets are beautiful and exquiste. I do have one thing to say...a criticism if you will.....

Brian Baumann....

why...
why...
why is he in this show!!
Everything is going wonderful until that familiar face once agains does not grace us with his presence. The show is at 100 degrees before he comes in then when he enters slows down to 10 mph. His counterpart I must say though. The lovely Evelyn Cummuo is a talented actress and I was happy to see her thoughout the show. But Baumann thinks this is the Elephant Man play or some Italian comedy/mafia drama the way he prances on the stage. Somebody tell Uta Hagen to give him some lessons please.

Other than that...wonderful show...wonderful cast. I have seen the show 3 times now and they get better and better. Bob Cratchit is amazing...tiny Tim...perfect...Fred...magmamonius.....the demons....enchanting...Cratchit children....delightful....Marley..Oscar-nominated.....the music.....gripping

excellent show

Dearly Departed, by David Botrell and Jessie Jones
Masterful Southern Gothic
Monday, October 16, 2006
5.0
Rosewater theatre does it again with another great show. I have never seen a more animated and talented cast take a script and run away with it as this troupe has. This show could have been a bit hokey and down to earth but we have a true proffesional production at hand and every minute is a joy to beheld. The story of a Southern clan burying the patriarch is a story that has been overdone in the theatre. But here we have fresh and new ideas taking presence and direction that has a fire within.

Every scene lends its own magic to the show and I love how the characters relate to themselves. This show knows all the right moves and is not afraid to be politically correct. I did have a problem with the reverend though. I know this actor Brian Baumann. What a sorry excuse, other than that maggot of acting, this is a show that makes What's Eating Gilbert Grape a cartoon.

See How They Run, by Philip King
A Delightful Comedy In The Vein Of True British Artistry
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
5.0
The Rosewater Theatre Companies prdoduction of See How They Run is true Grade A art at the highest level. The methods of using British comedy have never been better and this show is at the forefront of the medium.

The direction for the show is inspired by Amelia Bahr and the fingerprints of true creation are evident here. The set design and props work are so wonderful and exciting you cant help but just feel magnetized to the room.

The cast is a rip-roaring rolicking team of veteran actors that have made this show all their own. I just find it fascinating how each actor adds so much to the show making it total and complete.

Kristen Van Wageningen finds an innocence and a straight face throughout the show that leaves us in stitches and makes her the role model of girls everywhere and in the dreams of boys everywhere.

John Spencer as the Bishop of Lax is a role that is owned by the actor and nobody can take away from. The Bishop has such moments of zany euchacatastrophe that it leaves the audience spellbound by his comic warmth.

Mark W. Schroeder in another excellent performance captivates the audience with his experience and his willingness to take the most daring of risks during the show and that is to be half naked.

Atlanta is very blessed to have Mercury as an actor in the area. The actor is channeling some hidden force to gain all the energy that is needed in the role. And by the time the show is over we have not seen just genius and comic masterfuklyl portrayed but true hard acting work has been accomplished.

Todd Martin has the quite simple role of the Nazi Spy. What is merely a few lines in the script is turned into a role of wonderful zeal and spciel that will give audiiences double takes of glee and remind us that no role is too small and that this role makes the show tighter. Martin's accent and facial expressions are worth the price of admission alone.

Alicia Gum as Penelope Toop has such a likability in the role that we love it when she is allowed the moments to really take control of the stage and whenever she smacks Ms. Skillon. This actress knows how to take comedy to new levels. The role is filled with charm and grace but then wacky moments of delusion and insanity and Gum finds the right tone for all of them.

One of the most special and honest portrayls ever to be done in the Cumming Playhouse is the role of Miss Skillon and Evelyn Cummo is more than just a delight in the role. She is the heart and soul of the show and her performace makes you not only care for Skillon stuck in the closet and being all "love-starved" but at the same time you feel the need thst she needs to be knocked out during intermission because she is a meanie who needs a reminder that it's only the Harvest Festival and sometimes its fun to let hair down and talk about Gungs Din.

There is only one true problem and mistake in this show and that is the Brian Baumann in the role of Arthur Humphrey. What a horrible horrible attempt at acting, it is so over-wrought with terrible decisions in character and judgement. The cast lifts Baumann to make his Humphrey seem decent but in the end he fails at an already feeble attempt to make the audience care about him.

All in all it is an excellent show that leaves audiences heading to the lavatories to make sure they did not pee their pants.

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