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Companies Reviewed#
Cobb Players1
Cobb Playhouse and Studio1
Average Rating Given : 4.00000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

Quilters, by Molly Newman and Barbara Damashek
A truly delightful musical...for those who don't like musicals
Saturday, September 10, 2005
(Reviewer's note: for some strange reason all my apostrophes and quotes are preceded by a backslash... (' , " ")...see? please disregard)

So, I journeyed up to Cobb in Acworth on the night of the 9 Sep show. Having performed at Cobb and seeing several shows there, I know it can be hit or miss with the type of experience you'll have. Even though I was friends of some of the castmembers (so doing the support-thing), I had no idea what to expect.
What I got was a very entertaining and enlightening night of theatre. As I mentioned in the title this is a "musical for people who don't like musicals" other *grins*

From the director's stage speech, and the magic of the music, backdrop, and costumes we are transported back to the time of the Pioneers settling the unchartered American midwest, plains, and praries. Immediately, I noticed this is not your typical musical. The lyrics and staging were not presentational, but rather if the ladies of the plains would be singing these songs in their everyday life...whether anybody was listening or not...very refreshing. The cast blended their voices together quite nicely, and each song was performed with conviction and true emotion, thereby avoiding the usual musical-theatre trap of (and I'm sure you'll agree) "Why the heck did she just break into song? What does THAT have to do with the story?" *laughs*

This story (if you want to call it that) is really a revue of a collection of varied tales from the Plains, told from the perspective of the women who were the backbone of the Pioneer movement. If women were the backbone, then the lifeblood of the Plains was the Quilt. Similiar to the buffalo for the American Indians, the Quilt symbolizes so much for these ladies. Their babies are born and immediately wrapped the Quilt; it is a source of a social gathering; it is an artform with knowledge passed from generation to generation; it is a family heirloom; it is shelter; it is protection and defense against fires; and finally it is what they are wrapped in when they die...(just not their best quilts, though). I realize this review is reading like a tour of a Natural History museum, so credit director Amanda Pickard and cast for presenting this way of life in a very sweet and welcoming manner. Their effortless work made it easy to become immersed in the stories.
Oh, and back on the music...I found myself humming and toe-tapping to the Act I Finale (The Needle's Eye) all through intermission...ME...again a guy who doesn't like musicals...*chuckles* but I digress...

It is an ensemble show, with each cast member playing multiple roles, so great opportunities for actresses to show their range. I'm not giving away any plot here, because the play is basically montages of various stories, marked by a piecing of quilt, eventually all sewn together. Mary Beth Martin was the centerpiece as the wise matriarch to the group. She delivered each one of her monologues full of history and life experiences. Mandy Cook got to play both old and young characters, but delivers a stand-out monologue about an inability to have children (a truly disasterous thing in those times) with such heart and sadness that it will bring you to the brink of tears. Christy Henry also delivers several good monologues, and she excelled in comic relief as the "token male character," represented by simply wearing a hat. Kristine Lynch gets to both give birth and die onstage (usually treacherous tasks for actors, resulting in stiff, unrealistic portrayals), but does them with truth, so that you can actually feel her pain in each case. The show isn't just monologues, though, there are some very touching and playful moments brought to life by Katie O'Neill and Kelley Roark. They each are bursting with more than enough youthful joy and energy to keep you smiling and laughing throughout. Of particular note is a bit about young girls becoming, in the biological sense (I'll just leave it at that)...*laughs*

The casting, staging, music, individual and ensemble performances, and overall experience makes this a MUST-SEE for those looking for something different than the usual community-theatre fare.

Thanks again, cast and crew for an enjoyable night, each of you certainly have more productions on the horizon, so best of luck to you all in your future endeavors.

Steel Magnolias, by
Steel Magnolias...a chick show you'll dig (1-18-03)
Monday, February 10, 2003
I saw Steel Magnolias the other night and rather
enjoyed it. Now, I'm not one to automatically cheer
at a "chick flic" (yes, I know this isn't the
movie...which I didn't see either), but the cast did a
great job. I didn't know the whole play took place
inside a beauty salon, but the cast did a great job of
taking us to different places in our minds, making us
laugh hard, and touching our hearts. Hats off to
them, and I highly recommend you catch this show.


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