Sunday, December 7, 2014

Sleeping Beauty at Ensemble Theatre

Thanks for an original version of a classic tale

     Sleeping Beauty by Joseph McDonough and David Kisor has been remounted by Lynn Meyers at Ensemble and it’s charming.  We saw it five years ago and it’s been modified in
some ways so that it feels like a revival, rather than a retread.  Kisor’s score immediately engages the audience and the songs are easily hummed, which is important considering this is a family show with a lot of excited children in the audience.  There’s an original message about brains and heart with a subtext concerning gender equality.

Deb Girdler as Wisteria
     The cast is as strong as in the past, especially Deb Girdler as Wisteria the villainess and Michael Bath as Falcon, her henchman (he actually resembles a raven in his looks and costuming).  They exude delight in their roles, in being integral to an ensemble, and in entertaining the audience.  Girdler also gave a witty and heart-felt curtain speech about the public servant role that Lynn Meyers has emphasized as a major component of Ensemble’s mission to its neighborhood and the city.  

The Fairies—Steele, Mackie and Devlin
     Kate Wilford and Phil Fiorini were spirited as the King and Queen.  Deidre Manning was just off-beat enough to keep Briar Rose from seeming saccharine and Terrance Ganser was a refreshingly unconventional prince.  The three fairies were a welcome comic team, especially Brooke Steele in her delivery and Denise Devlin in her singing.  Thankfully, Sara Mackie refrained from the focus pulling that marred her performance in Hands on a Hardbody.

    Meyers’ direction kept the pacing bubbling throughout.  Although Brian Mehring’s unit set worked well, I wish the lighting in the second act could have been scarier for the enchanted forest.

     Briar Rose and Prince Edward greeting audience members afterwards in support of Ensemble's Fairy Godmother Program.

No comments: