Thursday, July 10, 2014

Review of Brigadoon at Goodman Theatre

Once upon a time I went to a show and it was called Brigadoon. It was directed and choreographed by Rachel Rockwell and the book and lyrics were by Alan Jay Lerner and the music was by Frederick Loewe. It is about a man named Tommy Albright (Kevin Earley) who was on a hunting trip with his friend Jeff Douglas (Rod Thomas) in Scotland. And then they find this little town called…Brigadoon! Then Tommy meets a girl named Fiona (Jennie Sophia) but then, even though he is getting married and the hunting party is a hunting bachelor party, he falls in love. But all that Jeff wants to do is go home. But they have come on the right day because it is the wedding of Fiona's sister Jean (Olivia Renteria), and who doesn't like weddings? Jeff. He just tries to make the worst of everything in this place so he can go home and have a martini. A cool thing about Brigadoon is that every day is a hundred years later. In the outside world, a hundred years have passed. A stalactite experiment would grow in a day instead of tedious weeks. This show is about love, time-travel (sort of), and Scots people.

I liked some of the ideas of the play, but I didn't think the writing of the play was all that good. The two leads didn't really have to do anything except act like they were in love, so it was not a very exciting thing. I think that the two lead performers sing very beautifully, but I was hoping that the play would also invite more acting. You don't care about the romance that much because you kind of get bored of it--they are sort of too much in love for you to keep understanding it. They aren't really in love for a reason; they are just in love.

The director/choreographer made the big singing and dancing numbers have more acting and made it seem more exciting to watch. Even if a character didn't have a name, they seemed like they were full characters because of the way they acted. There was a husband and you knew that that other person was his wife. Or there were best friends or things like that. I really liked the song "Down in MacConnachy Square" because I really liked all the dance numbers that went with the story of the song. This is the song that introduces you to the people of Brigadoon. They seem like they are a very chipper town. They had a bad time in the war, but it seems like everyone got over it.

I really liked the character Harry (Rhett Guter) because he had a complicated story and it was fun to figure out what had happened and pick up on the ideas of what he's been through. He is very sad that his true love Jean is getting married, but she doesn't love him so that makes him very angry and sad. I really liked the sword dance because it was really exciting. When I looked in the program, I saw there was going to be a funeral, and then I thought, is someone going to get his foot chopped off with a sword while they are sword dancing and then bleed to death? I had never seen actual sword dancers before and I thought the men (William Angulo, Guter, Jamy Meek, and Malachi Squires) who were doing it were very good. A sword dance is a bunch of people hopping around swords trying not to touch the swords.

I thought that Charlie (Jordan Brown) was a great character to have. He seemed like he was very happy to get married to Jean even though he still wanted all the ladies. But then there were sometimes where he would be like, "Don't look at me so romantically; I'm getting married!" which I kind of felt like was a little bit mean, but he was still a great character to have because he is comic relief but he is also kind of like the lover. He likes the woman he is going to marry, but he is still kind of a cheeky beggar. I thought that Jean was an amazing dancer. She put a lot of story into her dancing which I think is great.

The milkmaid is always the flirty one in most stories, and that was very true here. I thought that Meg (Maggie Portman) was a great instance of comic relief because she was very sassy and I really like sassy characters. I really liked the seducing song "Love of My Life" that Meg sings to Jeff to try to seduce him but he just wants to have a nap. She didn't understand that he was being literal. He just kept trying to go to sleep while she sang him a song about how she has been looking for her true love all her life but they keep running away. Both of them are funny in that scene because he is trying to go to sleep and she is trying to climb on the tiny tiny bed.

People who would like this show are people who like sword dancing, weddings, and comedic characters. I think people should go see this show because it is funny, suspenseful, and the singing and dancing are amazing. I would definitely go back just to see the dancing! When people go and see this show, wear a kilt!

Photos: Liz Lauren

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