Friday, July 01, 2011

REV: Sleeping Beauty

As published in the West Kerr Current, 23 June 2011

Sleeping Beauty

A Current Review by Tony Gallucci

If one were to judge an entire show by its opening number then the Point Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty knocks it out of the park. The three fairies, Marigold, Lilac and Daisy, portrayed respectively by Maikenzy DeZarn, Krista Turner and Marjorie Williams, sound like a soprano fairy rebirth of Crosby, Stills and Nash as their trio of gorgeous voices perfectly execute the interwoven harmonies of “It Starts With One”.

In fact, the biggest highlight, of many in the show, is the array of voices and songs delivered well, especially in the difficult ensemble pieces. Only an occasional solo falls flat. Kudos right off the bat to Musical Director Michael Kahl.

This thoroughly familiar tale is well-delivered, with Jessica Roberts’ direction unfailingly bringing out the motive nuances in each of the major characters. Her staging is spot on, with several numbers delightfully choreographed. I’m not privy to the script so am unaware how much of the subtle humor and visual effects are written in, but I suspect more than a little of the really fine moments are the product of Roberts’ and her creative team’s imaginations. Well done.

Zach Salcich’s dual Prince characters, separated by a hundred years, were each similar enough to be believably related, but different enough to pull off the distance in time. And his voice soars, bringing some warm humanity to what otherwise can come off as a wooden character in the hands of lesser actors.

Kayla Rohrbach’s Briar Rose was suitably naive at times, curious at others, and above all enticing as the Prince’s object of affection. She flits from moment to moment, afloat in the wonder of everything around her.

Wisteria and Falcon, played by Andrea DeLeon and Trevor Stewart, were brilliantly wrought, towering above most every scene they were in. The royal parental units, played by Luke Cummings and Breanne Lawrence kept me in stitches much of the show, both through their actions and the cleverness of their repartee – it takes more than reading dialogue to make conversation real.

It won’t do here to single out all the roles as there were many, but a blanket congratulations would be well-deserved for a cast that seemed never out of character and was animatedly involved throughout without ever distracting from the action.

I suppose this might be something of a spoiler, so you can tune out briefly, but the show is enlivened by the tossing in of a number of anachronisms and a heavily referential dose of pop culture. One must think this was done to keep the adults as engaged and entertained as much as the children are by the staging of a favorite story. King Stefan’s Borat-ish vocals constantly took me back to scenes from other places, doubling my pleasure in the moments.

The show is not without problems, hardly a community theatre production is. Chief among them is a sound system that always sounds sup-par, and Friday night’s show was no exception, with one or two microphones always limiting out, and others with persistent, annoying buzzes.

My other criticisms are minor however: I could wish for one magical character with a strong dialect to be certainly intelligible, especially in the adrenaline rush of the early scenes – I missed an entire setup.

The rock number via guitar created a visual disconnect – while the costume was grunge-ish, and the song begged for the same, the attitude and delivery was more on the side of soft-pop. I suppose it could appropriately go either way, but delivered without authority one way or the other made it schizophrenic.

Among the highlights, besides the singing, were a deliciously colored castle hinting of candy canes (and although they are beautifully executed, the forested drops have hit the end of their recyclable life – they remind too much of other shows).

The costumes were stunning, the best I’ve seen on that stage since Beauty and the Beast, and not for some time before that. The dragon was fantastic in execution, and brilliantly manipulated by its trio of handlers.

The band, which in these productions often feels either weak and thin or distractingly overpowering, was instead just solid enough to propel the action, without being overwhelming. Another ‘well done’ to the band.

All in all the show was a delight. Director Roberts, and her staff of directors and managers – TJ Ashabranner, Kahl, Bobby Dale Sands, Lorenzo Nichols and Johna Sewell should take no small pride in having produced this show.

It’s appropriate for children of all ages – even the scary scenes are delivered with humor and fall short of terrifying – and isn’t too long or slow, at two hours, to bore anyone.

Three shows remain, this week Thursday through Saturday at 8:30 pm, tickets are $15 and reservations are highly recommended. Call 367-5121.

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At 12:28 AM, Anonymous Patrick Gorman Pettis said...

tony thank you for posting this I received your blog entry from a friend who was interested in the show and have to say Im impressed - entertaining while still being informative and concise - great entry looking forward to more


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