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The Robber Bridegroom

a Musical Comedy
CATEGORY : COMEDY MUSICAL
by Alfred Uhry (words) and Robert Waldman (music)

COMPANY : Act 3 Productions [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Act 3 Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 5116

SHOWING : August 11, 2017 - August 26, 2017

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Based on the novella by beloved writer Eudora Welty, "The Robber Bridegroom" is the Southern-fried Robin Hood tale of Jamie Lockhart, a dangerous, handsome, backwoods rogue who’s a gentleman by day and bandit by night. When he falls for Rosamund, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy planter, his world and code of ethics are turned upside down. Throw in an evil stepmother intent on Rosamund’s demise, her pea-brained henchman, and a hostile talking head-in-a-trunk, and you have a rollicking country romp.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Chris Davis
Goat Andrew Berardi
Goat’s Mother Annie Cook
Jamie Lockhart Jeremy Cooper
Little Harp Stephen DeVillers
Salome Musgrove Jillian Melko
Ensemble Johnna Barrett Mitchell
Ensemble Lisa Nelson
Clemment Musgrove Joel Rose
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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The Ensemble Rules
by playgoer
Sunday, August 20, 2017
4.0
"The Robber Bridegroom" marries a Eudora Welty novella with the country-inflected songs of Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman (one of which, "Love Stolen," became a minor country hit). There’s a hoe-down flavor to the whole proceedings, with square dance calls starting and ending the show. The ensemble populates the periphery of the stage for most of the show, acting as different characters and even as squeaking doors. In Act3’s production, the major players differentiate themselves from the ensemble only by their amount of lines and solo stage time.

Brian Clements’ set design clads the upstage wall of the playing space with what looks like reclaimed barn wood in a generally symmetrical pattern. Barrels and boxes and pallets provide seating, with a foldable futon-like bed brought out upon occasion. Generally, the majority of the stage is left empty to allow room for the energetic choreography of Johnna Barret Mitchell and her assistant, Janie Young. David Reingold’s ambitious lighting design has a lot of effects, some of which enhance the action and others of which just draw attention to themselves.

Sound design by Ben Sterling uses miked actors, which can lead to voices coming out of a speaker far removed from where the actor is onstage, although balance between voices and the four-piece band is generally good. Ali Olhausen’s costumes show a similar sort of disconnect, with styles from different periods mixed about with no apparent reason. Mary Sorrel’s props are workable, although male lead Jeremy Cooper often has difficulty locating his knife inside the jacket of his costume.

Performances are energetic throughout the ensemble, which makes for a generally exciting production. Music director John-Michael d’Haviland has created a wonderful choral sound. The vocal performances of the leads are more of a mixed bag. Jeremy Cooper has a marvelous voice as Jamie Lockhart, but his lackluster acting leaves a bit of a hole at the center of the story. Lindsey Koch, as love interest Rosamund, has a voice that tends to land on the sour side of a note before becoming true as the note is held, although she throws herself into the role. Jillian Melko, as evil stepmother Salome, gives a beautifully comic performance, but her idiosyncratic diction in singing means that sung words are often lost on the audience. Joel Rose, as Salome’s husband and Rosamund’s father, gives the dependable sort of performance we’re used to from him in musical comedy.

The true standout in the show is Stephen DeVillers as Little Harp. He makes every moment of his performance count with delightful comic shtick and timing, and his terrific voice is ably supported in duets by Andrew Berardi’s loose-limbed Goat and PJ Mitchell’s no-limbed Big Harp.

Director Chris Davis has put together a rip-roaring production of "The Robber Bridegroom" that lands in all minor respects and in many major respects as well. The choreography helps keep things moving (despite one uncalled-for tap number), and it’s best when the dance moves help to delineate character. If only there were a truly engaging pair of lovers at the core, this production would transcend the category of "good" to become "excellent." [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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