Musical exhibits emotional turmoil

Grade: A

Incredibly strong vocal performances and commanding stage presences dominate the department of Theatre and Dance's production of "A Little Night Music," directed by assistant theater professor Bill Jenkins. The show presents characters tangled in a web of infidelity, emotion and desperation.

Sexual tension and innuendo hung as thick as smoke as couples waltz, deftly avoiding the edge of the stage, the orchestra pit and their personal obstacles.

This show, set in Sweden at the turn of the century, requires perfect comedic timing to be effective, and the cast performs this flawlessly. The dry wit and dripping sarcasm kept the audience captivated during the show's two-and-a-half-hour run time.

A strong ensemble cast gave memorable performances. As Desiree Armfelt, Carrie Ann Schlatter Schwer was elegant, and Mark A. Boyle, as Fredrik Egerman, and Jason Bennet Whicker, as Count Carl-Magnus Malcolm, played their parts with dignity and bravado.

Anthony James Sirk was convincing as "poor, silly Henrik," baring his tortured soul for all to see. Tiara Kai Wuethrich effectively shows Anne's innocence, compared with Laura Riggs' sexually charged performance as Petra.

Mandy Fox nearly steals the show with her sassy portrayal of Madame Armfelt. Her sharp commentary often provided comic relief during some of the show's serious moments. Another highlight was Schwer's bittersweet performance of "Send in the Clowns."

Subtle lighting and a sparse, ornate set allowed the actors to be the focus of the show. The orchestra's music always provided the perfect backdrop, changing in perfect synchronization with the mood of the show.

With familiar themes and excellent performances, "A Little Night Music" features dynamic acting and singing, presented with classy inappropriateness.


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