Wednesday, January 11, 2017

review - THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD - Tuscany Theatre Company

the cast
photo by Lisa Webb / Southwest Shots Photography
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)
Click here for more information on this production that runs through January 14th.

"The Mystery of Edwin Drood is an incredibly fun musical that combines a murder mystery and a comedy with a huge amount of audience participation on top. Tuscany Theatre Company presents a solid production of this Tony winning Best Musical that features superb direction, great period creative elements, and a very game cast. Created by singer/songwriter Rupert Holmes...is an ingenious show, as Holmes took the final, unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, which focuses on young Edwin Drood and the possible suspects who want to murder him, and turned it into a musical-within-a-musical that includes the audience voting on how the story ends...If Dickens hadn't died before finishing the novel the musical wouldn't be quite as much fun as it is because the audience's involvement in the last quarter of the show provides an amazing way for them to connect with the material. The show is presented as if you are at a lively British music hall in the early 1900s, which gives the actors the opportunity to ham up the parts they play and interact with the audience. The rambunctious narrator continually interjects and interacts with the audience, and the part of Drood is played by a woman. ....Director Andrea McFeely has done an exceptional job in ensuring that both the comedy and the drama resonate. She has also found a way to have the joy that the actors are feeling wash over the footlights and out into the audience. While not every member of her cast is a gifted singer, which is a slight drawback in some of the more vocally challenging songs, they all effectively manage the dual roles they are given with fun facial expressions and exaggerated gestures that play up the humor in the show. ...As the Chairman...Chris Dennis is exceptionally charming and very good. Hillary Low brings a bright, joyful sensibility to the part of ...Drood, and Jared Kitch is quite effective as Drood's uncle John Jasper..who.. is in love with Rosa Bud, Edwin's betrothed. AJ Marshall plays Rosa...with an appropriate sense of mystery beneath a demure exterior. Monserrat Himler is excellent as Princess Puffer, the madam of an opium den...Steve Morgan and Allyson Igielski play brother and sister orphans from Ceylon...(they) are hysterical in their portrayals, with Igielski exceptionally impressive with her vocal skills, diction and accent, and Morgan's wide-eyed comical expressions and gestures superbly delivered. ...Shannon Perkins' rousing choreography delivers plenty of upbeat moments which add to the joy of the show. Creative elements are very good, with Mike Smyth's simple set design using large movable, painted curtains to portray the backdrops of the scenes along with a few smart set pieces. Carrie and Danie Grief's costumes are rich and intricate and perfectly in touch with the characters, the period, and the feeling of being back in the days of the British music hall. Brian Nason's evocative lighting design is quite effective in setting the many moods of the piece, from bright, lowbrow comedy to dark mystery. ...With firm direction, colorful creative aspects, and an enthusiastic cast who have a lot of fun with their parts, Tuscany Theatre Company's production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood will make you laugh and leave you feeling that the magic of the theatre is alive and well at the Tuscany Theatre.. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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