June 18, 2010
‘Brigadoon’ needs a few more rehearsals
BY ROGER SMITH
ASHTABULA — Sometimes when I write a review of a show that just isn’t ‘up to snuff,’ I hear that it really came together at the end of its run and that I should have reviewed it then.
My constant comment is that I write about what I see, when I see it. That’s only fair to those who lay out money to be entertained.
I expect the opportunity for me to hear that it “really came together” will present itself often, as there is much room for improvement in “Brigadoon,” the opening of summer offering at Straw Hat Theatre on the grounds of the Ashtabula Arts Center.
The first word that popped into my head as the show opened was ‘hesitant’, a signal to me that at least another week of rehearsals — or two — would be in order. When the second act began at 9:55 p.m., I was certain that I could also use the term ‘slow’ in my description of the play.
The cast members did not exude confidence as they sang and danced on the limiting Straw Hat Theatre stage; there was, however, evidence of concentration in trying to get it right.
Vocally, the entire cast could have used a bit more coaching. There were flat notes and screeching notes and notes that were out of range of the vocalists. A change from one octave to another in the middle of a phrase indicates a misplaced singer.
Judging from the array of colorful clan kilts on stage, it is safe to assume that some research had been done when assembling the costumes. I suggest that perhaps a wee bit of washing and ironing might have helped their appearance.
The orchestra for Brigadoon was one of the show’s bright spots. However, when considering the l-e-n-g-t-h of the production, someone should have taken the initiative to eliminate some of the second act opening music.
No one knows why audiences go to see plays. I suspect that word of mouth is the biggest seller. There is much work to be done with this show before it finishes its run. I hope it does come together; I hope word of mouth fills the tent.
Brigadoon continues tonight, Saturday and Sunday, and next week on Thursday, June 24 and 25. Curtain time each evening is 8. Tickets may be reserved by phoning the Ashtabula Arts Center at 964-3396.