October 26, 2008

Melodrama

I really wanted to like The Saloonkeeper's Daughter, which PPCT put on this weekend. It was at a nifty new venue—the old mall cinema, with a stage built out over the front section. It was a musical written in part by friend of the family Dave Reiser (though I wasn't sure about that part until I came back and googled it). It starred quite a few actors I've seen and loved in other PPCT shows. But alas, alas, alas—it was terrible.

The biggest problem was that the cast they had was just not up to the singing they needed to do. Several of the actors were singing way at the edge of their ranges, and as a result couldn't get underneath their notes. Others would be fine choral singers but had to sustain an entire harmony line on their own, and couldn't. And several just didn't have a very strong voice and were too breathy. While there were three or four solid, strong voices in the cast of twelve, there really need to be more like nine or ten.

Not that it was without its moments. Jamie Kistler, playing Grimy Geezer, had few lines but silently stole more than one scene with his pitch-perfect hillbilly stereotype. Brian Towne, playing bad guy Mannly Rasch, had the very best villainous cackle I've ever heard. The over-the-top melodrama, right down to musical cues for the audience to cheer, boo, or "awwww", was great fun. The venue itself, a former movie theatre, was surprisingly good, although it requires a bit more lighting infrastructure than they managed for this show (two booms with lights mounted vertically—making the contrasts a little too stark).

Ah well. Everyone has a stinker every now and then. Better next time!

"Vista sucks like one of those fancy vacuum sweepers that can pick up a bowling ball." --Andrea Johnston

Posted by blahedo at 2:55am on 26 Oct 2008
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