Thursday, January 14

Beef and Boards & Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope opened to a nearly sold-out theater Friday night at IRT. World Music Carnaval was a delightful, well...kaleidoscope of colors and energy with Brittany Edwards taking the former male lead role in post-intermission's Play Mas'.

Artistic Director, David Hochoy, channels his memories, via the dancers, of his cherished experiences in Trinidad and Brazil at Carnaval time. The musical cornucopia originating from Argentina, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Africa and Pakistan provides the upbeat tempo required for the intense choreography.

Jillian Godwin’s energy was show-cased best in the first half in Food of Love, matched by George Salinas in the latter half during Play Mas’.

Another mention goes to a behind-the-scenes star. Cheryl Sparks has been the costume designer for DK since 1996. This program’s enchanting costumes became, in themselves, characters. Swirling, parading and leaping with the dancers, enhancing their movements with fluidity and gracefulness at one point, sensually silhouetting and accentuating bodies at the next. Sparks was aided by Lydia Tanji and Deb Dryden in completing the synchronization of color, material and dancer.

Beef and Boards veterans Jeff Stockberger, Ty Stover and Sarah Hund opened the 2010 season for the north side dinner theater with The Foreigner. Zany antics occur with this trio....to be expected with their talent and the venue of a British farce.

Stockberger (Annie, Hook) plays uber-shy Englishman, Charlie Baker who is convinced to trot off to America, with friend, Sgt. ‘Froggy’ LaSueur…to a backwoods fishing cabin in Georgia. The KKK apparently still exists and is less than pleased that a non-American is residing in their small town, even for a few days.

Stover (Annie, Cats) plays Froggy admirably giving the ‘only sober guy at the party’ attitude needed for the madcap adventure. He attempts to help his shy friend from having to socialize with the locals, by telling everyone that Baker can’t speak English. Then promptly leaves Baker in the hands of the strangers and departs for the local Army base.

Hund (Smoke on the Mountain) plays Catherine Simms, fiancĂ© to the local Reverend David Marshall (David Schmittou). Always with perfect timing, Hund plays the debutante-trying-to-be-a-reverend’s-wife. A tough act to pull off, socialite party girl trying to turn over a new leaf, but Hund creates the perfect balance. Playing off the Reverend, the Englishman who doesn’t speak, and younger, intellect-challenged brother Ellard (David Purdy), Hund proves she is capable of being the hub of the wheel.

When everyone divulges secrets to Baker, Stockberger shines at what he does best…almost nothing. With slight twitches and minor glances, he speaks without uttering a word, which makes almost nothing into something great. A master at emoting through his movements, Stockberger brings quirkiness to the staunch man which is endearing.

Kate Braun brings authenticity to the lodge-owner, Betty Meeks, a southern lady with spunk, creating a likeable character with whom the audience empathizes.

Daniel Scharbrough nails the closed-minded, redneck, Owen Muser, with thorough despicability. As Baker finds out the sister and brother are being conned out of their money by the man of the cloth, he finds a way to bring everyone together to fight the evil within their midst.

Bottom Line: The Foreigner proves, once again, why British farces are the charming specialty of Beef and Boards.

If you have a performance or event you would like reviewed, e-mail elizabethjmusgrave@yahoo.com. Me, I’ll be right here, picturing Froggy at the Carnaval.

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