Friday, December 05, 2008

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers - 5th Avenue Theatre

Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

5th Avenue Theatre

December 3 – 28, 2008

Tickets and Information

The story in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers dates back past the 1954 MGM film to the American poet Stephen Vincent Benét most famous for his poem about the Civil War, John Brown’s Body. As in the musical, the short story by Benét adapts the Plutarch story about Roman men who kidnap seven Sabine women to take as brides. The musical, however, is presented as only the heart of American Musical Theatre can offer.

Cast of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 5th Avenue. Photo by Chris Bennion

The story is emotional and heartfelt, yes, but it is primarily a rumpus of musical fun from start to finish. Adam Pontipee (Edward Watts) opens the show in search of a wife to take care of him and his six woodsmen brothers. He finds Milly Brandon (Laura Griffith) who, over the course of the show, shows Adam and his biblical brothers what’s what when it comes to women. Watts and Griffith are powerhouses in the proscenium supported by a cast of incredibly skilled dancers and performers. Each and every performer in the 5th Avenue’s production rocks the out-of-this-world choreography by Patti Colombo. Colombo’s style takes this show much beyond its cute, fun, family show to a fully-produced dance piece that will take the kids in the audience for a spectacular ride and awe even the most jaded thespians in the house.

Allison Narver’s direction of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is equally impressive. Her tried and true precision and attention to even the minutest detail makes this show even more hilarious than it seems possible. Her take on this show is a calculated one that shows the flaws in each and every character and, therefore, makes their triumphs even more spectacular. Similarly, Geoffery Alm’s combat direction is specific, technical and flawless. The massive fight sequences and the isolated hits and jabs are all beautifully choreographed and fly like honest blows.

Of course, the production would not be the same without the impeccable set and light design. Anna Louizos (set) and Tom Sturge (lights), both long-time veterans of their craft, take the show to a level of spectacle only reachable by the 5th Avenue. While the production on the whole may seem rather gaudy, all the elements fit like puzzle-pieces and function fabulously.

The 5th Avenue’s production of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers is a definite family gathering show. While on the cutesy side of the American Musical Theatre world, this production takes the technical elements of the dance, the combat and the script and rocks them to a brilliant level.

Review by Nigel Andrews

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