Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
WITH a known Hollywood and Broadway favourite, Starlight Musical Theatre’s second full "book" show firmly has its emphasis on entertainment rather than pushing the boundaries of musical theatre.
In that, it works out just fine with plenty of song, gags and, as the poster promises, "some mighty fancy dancin’".
The plot, about a family of backwoodsmen who abduct a bunch of women to become their wives — and their cooks and cleaners — will not win any points for political correctness, but leave that aside and it makes for a fun evening thanks to a typically dedicated Inverness cast and brisk direction from Roma MacAskill.
The role of Milly, sassy, confident, optimistic and romantic, but with an inner core of strength that surfaces when she suddenly finds herself the matriarch of the Pontipee clan, fits Caroline MacPherson like a glove.
After a run of second leads, its is satisfying to see her in a main role that so suits her bouncy personality.
Garry Black, making his second Eden Court appearance in a lead role associated with Howard Keel after Oklahoma!, does have the tall rangy look of a laidback frontiersman, and gives an authoritative performance as Adam, the eldest of the brothers and the only one who does not actually have to resort to kidnapping to find a wife.
The production also manages to mine all the comedy inherent in the relationship between the Biblically named brothers (Graeme White, Benedict Donnelly, Steven Kelly, Roddy MacDonald, Pete McKie and Liam McAskill), as well as their longing for the objects of their affection.
Several of the Brides obviously have a dance background and the choreography by Nicola Gray is a cut above some other productions seen at Eden Court, livening up the musical numbers and adding a slapstick element.
There was the odd unintended laugh when characters stormed into or out of a supposedly solid wood cabin — and it started skittering over the stage. Apart from that, the laughs came when they were meant to, keeping the audience entertained from start to finish.
As for the musicians, led by conductor Bob Garrity, they did not put a foot wrong with a fully professional accompaniment with just the right touch of humour.
Starlight’s next Eden Court musical is even more ambitious, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim’s West Side Story, but on the evidence of their Seven Brides performance, the company should certainly rise to the challenge.