I am behind on my blogging, aren't I?
I went to see Dearly Beloved on Feb. 15. One rather exciting thing about the show was how many people were there. It was a packed house, the third performance in a row that they had sold out. After the dinner, a group of about five people arrived at the table who was there for the show only. It marked the first time that they'd been to a live theater show. That was exciting. When I talked to them after the performance, they said they'd definitely be back to future shows.
Dearly Beloved was a great show for people new to theater. It has a great deal of humor in it and the performances were highly entertaining.
Despite being a comedy filled with hilarious lines, some of the most satisfying moments were the bittersweet ones, the ones where the drama and pathos shone through the humor. In this, the three sisters, played by Linda Granger, Emily English, and Jane Goebel, owned the show. The chemistry between them was fantastic and they knew exactly how to play off each other.
The show's men also did a stellar job with their roles. Dearly Beloved is all about the women, but in that, it's also about their relationships with their men. Chris Goeckel did an excellent job as the father of the bride, confused and hurt by his wife's distance but too inept at the emotional conversations which might end the alienation. Gordon Hicks was also hilarious as the drugged boyfriend. He was fully committed to each of the pratfalls and had some of the funniest physical comedy bits.
I did have several quibbles with the show. Compared to the strong voices of everyone else on stage, it was often difficult to hear Cathy Hansel-Edgerton. She did an excellent job with the character's physicality--she was clearly a snob and set herself apart by the way she walked and moved. However, I had to strain to hear her and the ends of her phrases were often lost as if she had run out of air. Linda Granger's dress was far too attractive for how it was described. I would have expected a dress that was trashy, not merely glittery with a plunging neckline.
Strangely enough, I also thought the chemistry between the young couple was off. I didn't believe in their attraction to each other. I say "strangely," because the actors are married too each other in real life, so I would have expected it to be fairly easy to recreate the attraction.
The script managed to poke fun at its characters without crossing the border into cruelty. It's become painfully stereotypical to portray Southerners as unintelligent or hicks. While few characters in this show are going to be applying for Harvard, they were not merely yokels on parade. Nearly all of the characters had a genuineness about them as well as diverse talents and strengths. They were real people behaving in ways that were humorous.
It was also a script that seemed to greatly appeal to the crowd in attendance. Certainly there were smiles all around.