Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Brigadoon"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2005 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Providence College's Blackfriars Theatre's current show is Lerner & Loewe's 1947 musical, "Brigadoon". It is set in May,1946 and tells the tale of Tommy and Jeff, two New Yorkers lost in the Highlands of Scotland. They stumble upon the village of Brigadoon, which emerges from the mists for only one day every hundred years, they are charmed by the villagers, who are remnants of the 18th century. Tommy falls in love with pretty young Fiona, and must decide whether he should return to New York with Jeff or remain in Brigadoon with Fiona, giving up friends, family and the 20th century which he was born in. Directed and choreographed by New York actor and artist in residence, Brendan Byrnes with music direction by David Harper and orchestra director, Christopher Kelton, this musical becomes a masterpiece in their hands with exquisite singing and dancing handled by a multitalented cast. A splendid debut by this talented crew in their 280 seat, brand new theatre, the Smith Center for the Arts, making it the must see show of the spring season.

Brendan blocks and choreographs his huge cast with ease, moving them up and down the aisles of the theatre as well as the centerpiece of the show, a bridge which is used throughout the show in different areas on the stage. ( A well known Scottish landmark back in the poet, Robert Burns' home town is the Bridge of Doon also known as Brig o'Doon ) The dances are energetic and captivating, bringing total enjoyment to the approving audience. The fantastic voices of the cast were trained by David and the fabulous 14 piece orchestra are conducted by Christopher and they mesh extremely well together. Scenery is by Michael Micucci, the costumes are by David Costa-Cabral who creates gorgeous and colorful kilts and gowns for the townspeople and the lighting design is by Eleanor Moore, helping to set the mood for each and every scene. Bravo to Brendan and his crew for creating a topnotch college production.

Senior Peter Waugh plays Tommy Albright perfectly. His awesome tenor voice soars in his solos and duets including "Almost Like Being in Love" when he falls in love with Fiona at first sight, the gorgeous ballad "There But for You go I" and "From This Day On" where he declares his undying love for Fiona even if he has to leave her in Brigadoon. Peter handles the acting chores of this juvenille lead wonderfully, handling the comic lines and the dancing with ease. He has a promising future in show business whether it be musical theatre or drama. (Peter did excellent work in heavy dramas "Agamemnon" and "The Seagull".) Best of luck in your future endeavors. Sophomore Colleen Rosati as Fiona has a fantastic soprano voice that soars off the scale in her songs including "Waitin' for My Dearie" done with the village girls where she yearns for her own boyfriend, "The Heather on the Hill" where she first falls in love with Tommy and "From This Day On". She handles the pathos of losing the man she loves wonderfully, too. The biggest scene stealer in this show is Halleluyah Walcott who plays Jeff. He has the best one liners in the show and he makes sure everyone of them gets a laugh including many drinking scenes. The other comic in this show is Danielle Kramer who plays the town tart, Meg Brockie who is eager to bed and wed any man she meets. Her comic numbers are "The Love of my Life" where she tells how she fell in love with the wrong men all the time and "My Mother's Weddin' Day".

Another outstanding vocalist in this show is Troy Quinn as Charlie Dalrymple. His magnificent tenor voice sells his two numbers, "I'll Go Home with Bonnie Jean" which turns into a triumphant dance number and the lovely ballad, "Come to Me, Bend to Me" where he yearns to be with his bride to be, Jean. Troy who is a senior will be continuing his studies in grad school next year in either New York or Boston. His younger brother, Shane plays the sullen, surly Harry Beaton who is also in love with Jean. He is the closest thing to a villain in the show when he tries to escape Brigadoon breaking the spell and dooming all the villagers. Anne Marie Higgins, an alumna of PC, plays Widow Lundie who tells the history of the village and enters from a trap door in the stage. The chorus excels in their singing and dance numbers including a sword dance. So for an outstanding presentation of "Brigadoon" which far surpasses the dreary 1954 movie version with Van Johnson ruining the comic role of Jeff, be sure to catch this upbeat and professional show before time runs out.

"Brigadoon" (15 - 24 April)
Providence College's David and Lynn Angell BLACKFRIARS THEATRE
Smith Center for the Arts, 549 River Avenue, PROVIDENCE RI
1 (401)865-2218

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide