Brigadoon

Date 30th October 2012
Society St Thomas Amateur Dramatic & Operatic Society Golborne
Venue Golbourne Parish Hall
Type of Production Musical
Director Alison Eaton
Musical Director Liz Ince
Choreographer Liliane Taylor

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Author: Kevin Proctor

This is one of those classic musicals from the "Golden Age." For a Gen Xer, the show may seem a bit on the stale side but thanks to such fond memories of it, this show has a warm place in my heart and this production didn’t fail to bring those happy memories flooding back.

I’d not heard or seen the script for 14 years (when I last did Brigadoon) and I’d forgotten how comical it was and now that I’m older, saw a different shade to the piece which was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

Another factor I’d forgotten about this show is the challenges it brings, let alone the task faced by Golborne Society to stage any show in the parish hall, but putting this aside for a moment, the challenges that face any society putting on this show involve the numerous locations/set needed plus the number of dance instrumentals which could easily have been axed but were tackled head on!

After the performance, we were invited backstage to look at the space and to see what the society has to work with, it wasn’t until this point that I truly appreciated the effort and difficulty it is to stage any production here, let alone the big American musicals!

Playing the Americans that stumble into the mythical town of Brigadoon - which appears only once every 100 years - are Andrew Marsh as Tommy and Chris MacDonald as Jeff. Chris plays the stereotypical American cynic, perhaps overdoing it a little coming across too melodramatic and forced at times. I thought Andrew created a nice arc for his romantic Tommy, his voice suited the part beautifully and each of his numbers were as equally as delightful as the last, his entire performance was effortless and as unbelievable as the plot is, managed to bring a certain grounded reality to the show.

This is one of those shows that can easily drag at the best of times but I cannot deny that Director, Alison Eaton, injected a good pace which couldn’t have been easy having the added difficulty of such a large cast in such an awkward space with only one entrance/exit onto the stage!

There were times in the crowd scenes where everyone stops what they’re doing to eavesdrop on conversations, but in some places there could have been more ensemble ad-libs to fill the silence, or enthusiastic cheering, like during the wedding dance, where more energy and spark from the entire ensemble would have taken the performance up a level.

The bonnie lassie that attracts Tommy’s attention is Leanne Barnes as Fiona who gave us such a warm and likeable character, vocally it was a struggle in parts but overall, an excellent interpretation while also keeping the accent clear and consistent.

Sarah Hutchinson as Meg stole the show for me! Sarah savoured every scene and moment to achieve the desired reaction, she had bags of energy and panache, was focused throughout and vocally did not disappoint.

Danny Murray has the thankless role of Harry, the ‘villain' of the piece, who provides the only conflict or tension in the plot. He broods appropriately though we missed a lot of his lines through the accent and anger, canny deny it’s authentic but no use to an audience who want to know what he’s saying!

Costumes by “The Boyz” looked excellent and provided a clear picture of the appropriate attire for the village, complete with family plaids.

Though less often staged these days, there is a gentle charm and bittersweet quality about Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon, not to mention the fact that this show includes such American songbook classics as ‘The Heather on the Hill’ and ‘Almost Like Being in Love’, though I understand it may not be everyone’s cup of highland tea, nevertheless, Golbourne St Thomas’s production of it is solid. If you're looking to see a classic that likely won't be done again anytime soon, this is the perfect treat!

If we had an award for best interval refreshments, I have no doubt that this society would win it in an instant! …Thank you very much for your hospitality, we received such a warm and pleasant welcome and had a thoroughly enjoyable evening!