Review: Brigadoon


Presented by The Metropolitan Musical Theatre Company
Reviewed Thursday 9th May 2013

Set in Scotland in 1945, where two jaded New Yorkers, Tommy Albright and Jeff Douglas, are on a hunting trip, this whimsical musical finds them lost in a rising mist and stumbling upon Brigadoon, a village that is not on the map. Its residents are a strange lot, dressed in 18th Century garb and evasive when asked too much about their village, but friendly enough to the two strangers who have arrived on the day of the wedding between Jean MacKeith and Charlie Cameron.

The writing team of Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music), produced a string of hit musicals and this Tony Award winning work, written in 1947, is one that has stood the test of time. In 1954 Gene Kelly, Cyd Charise, and Van Johnson were the stars of the film version which was nominated for three academy awards and won a Golden Globe.

This production is directed by Leonie Osborn, who brings enormous experience as a performer and as a director to this production. Her first appearance for the company, coincidentally, was as a dancer in their production of Brigadoon in 1965.

Tommy finds himself falling for Jean’s older sister, Fiona, and Jeff is pursued by the over-sexed and predatory Meg Brockie. Their inquisitiveness results in Jean taking them to Mr. Murdoch, who tells of the miracle that their last proctor arranged with God, that every day when they awake it will be a century later. The visitors have only that day in Brigadoon, and Tommy must decide whether to stay forever with Fiona, or return to his former life and fiancé in New York.

Daniel Fleming and Elizabeth Riley make a believable pair of lovers-at-first-sight as Tommy and Fiona, with Riley, especially, making strong eye contact and looking lovingly at him consistently. Their excellent voices blend well and both have good acting skills.

Angus Smith and Jacinta Vistoli are also well paired as Jeff and Meg, generating a lot of laughs, as the hunter becomes the prey. It is a very funny case of the unstoppable force and the immovable object.

Jared Frost and Barbara Nutchey, as the bride and groom, Charlie and Jean, present another strong pair, exuding all of the expected excitement of two young people on their wedding day. There is a fly in the ointment, though, and Myles Teakle is spot on as Harry Ritchie, who also loves Jean, clearly showing the resentment and anger that leads him to violence and his threat to end Brigadoon forever.

Barry Hill plays Mr. Murdoch, the kindly old village elder and historian, giving a warmth and gentleness to the character as he watches over the village.

There is a large ensemble of villagers, all colourfully dressed and providing some superb harmonies and very effective dance routines, choreographed by Carmel Vistoli. Gordon Combes is the musical director and has brought out some good performances from the whole cast and, aside from an occasional intonation inaccuracy in the brass, has a well rehearsed orchestra.

This is a period piece, a reminder of the simple musicals of the past where a story linked a string of lyrical songs, and there are pretty melodies aplenty, including the well known song, Almost Like Falling in Love. This is a “feel-good” show that anybody can enjoy for its pseudo-Scottish music, lively dance routines, and laughs.

Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Critic, Glam Adelaide,

The Met web site

Venue: ARTS Theatre, Angas Street, Adelaide
Season: to 18th May 2013
Duration: 2hrs 40min including interval
Tickets: Adult $32/Concession $26
Bookings: BASS 131 246 or here or directly through The Met on 8264 3225 or here

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