Monday, February 25, 2013

River City Community Players "Spelling Bee" review by BRN2ACT33

Bravo - B-R-A-V-O. That is correct! Rating: 4

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
River City Community Players

The River City Community Players can be very proud of their current production - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Director MB Hurst has cast a superb ensemble of vocally talented actors. Her choreography was inventive and worked well with the musical numbers and actors. Actually having sat through the auditions, she had the talent to have an equally talented second cast. An enviable position for any director. Her staging and pace of the show were excellent.

The entire ensemble is to be congratulated for magnificent performances - not a weak link anywhere. There were, however, a few exceptional standouts. Guy Gardner, always a delight to see on stage, played "Magic Foot" Barfee with incredible comic timing and delivery. Sean Connors, as Mitch, Kristen Altoro as Rona, and Danielle Swatzell as Olive were the vocal and acting highpoints of the show, particularly as they performed the very moving, and in my honest opinion, best number in the show - The I Love You Song. Raphael Tate, who has grown up in the RCCP, is maturing into a fine actor and shows great promise.

Music directors, Kari Rydalch and Bill Welch did an excellent job vocally with the actors and the music during the performance. Costumer Fran Kapono is to be commended for adorning each actor with costumes that enhanced their characters.

I would be remiss not to point out a few weaknesses (IMHO). As I sat waiting for the performance to begin, I gave the program a quick read and discovered a "minor" omission - the cast list. While the set was functional, I was not particularly impressed with the set design and the lighting designed left a great deal to be desired.

This is an excellent production with an exceptionally talented cast. Shake off the winter blahs and all of this snow and make your way to the River City Community Players' production of Spelling Bee! You won't be disappointed.

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