BWW Reviews: MADCO Impresses with LIQUID ROADS
I have to thank the Artistic Director of MADCO, Stacy West, for allowing me to see the first full-run through of Liquid Roads. I was completely captivated by the union of music and dance I experienced, and found the piece thoroughly entertaining. And, I wondered how it would all come together on stage with a live band accompanying the performers. Well, naturally, it was even better than I'd imagined, adding another level of excitement to the proceedings.
Gina Patterson's (Creator and Choreographer) concept for Liquid Roads takes the audience on a musical journey through time, following the river upstream as various influences take hold and fade away. It's a story of life, death, and rebirth. And it communicates these ideas through classic and original compositions that act as a sort of backdrop for a display of astounding athletic grace and fluidity. Under Patterson's watch this talented group of dancers really shines. Jennifer Reilly, Elyse Andersen, R. Vance Baldwin, Belicia Beck, Brandon Fink, Jason Flodder, Claire Hilleren, Monica Meyr, Raii Moorehead, Jeffrey Mitchell, Sam Mitchell, and Nicole Whitesell all do outstanding work here.
What makes this all really cook is the contribution of Music Director Brian Casserly (trumpet, sax and vocals) and his fellow band members: Matthew Murdick (keyboard, bass, piano, vocals), Joe Pastor (percussion), and Eric Slaughter (guitar). Casserly was born to play this kind of material and he really takes command of the situation. At one point Pastor abandons his drum kit for a set of luggage during "Suitcase Joe", while Murdick takes center stage on grand piano for a number. Slaughter also impresses with his stinging licks and gut-bucket slide work.
The lovely costumes by Christine Darch evoke the periods portrayed, and Kimberly Klearman's lighting design and technical wizardry adds greatly to the overall mood and atmosphere.
MADCO brings Patterson's vision to life in vibrant fashion. If you missed the opportunity to see Liquid Roads (April 11-12, 2014) in the Anheuser-Busch Hall at the Touhill Performing Arts Center, then you missed a very special presentation. But, rest assured, there's still plenty more to come from this gifted ensemble.