BWW Reviews: THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD - A Fun-Filled, Musical Whodunnit
BWW REVIEWS: "THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD"- a FUN, MUSICAL, WHODUNNIT!
"The MYSTERY of EDWIN DROOD" is a fun-filled, musical, whodunnit, produced by M.A.D. Theatre, now playing at the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Art's, Shimberg Playhouse in Tampa.
Charles Dickens past away, as he was midway writing the novel, "The MYSTERY of EDWIN DROOD". The musical with book, music, and lyrics by Rupert Holmes, is loosely based on the novel and was the first Broadway musical enlisting an audience vote to determine the ending.
"The MYSTERY of EDWIN DROOD" opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre in 1985 and ran for 608 performances. It had eleven Tony Award nominations, and won for Best Musical & Best Leading Actor. It had a Broadway revival in 2012 at The Roundabout Theatre Company.
The story takes place at the Victorian, Music Hall Royale, where a production of "THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD" is being presented, by actors in a melodramatic, vaudeville type troupe. Through the course of events, the actors all become suspects in a murder, each with their own possible motive. The audience decides who committed the crime, by voting half way through the production, which determines how the story proceeds to the finale.
Director-Choreographer Jennifer Marshall, has assembled a talented cast of twenty, energetic, performers for this ambitious production. Her stylized direction is masterful. She knows this script inside and out, producing convincing characters. Marshall gets the most out of her actors, despite the limitations of the small playing area of the Shimberg Playhouse. Marshall's staging never looks cramped and her choreography was sharp and well rehearsed. ~Bravo!
Chairman William Cartwright, played by Marcus Blake, does an admirable job leading the cast and the audience through storyline and voting. His opening number,"There You Are", enthusiastically set the tone of the production.
Omar Montes as John Jasper, was outstanding in his multi-level portrayal of the lovelorn choirmaster. His rich, powerful singing voice, added a great deal to the quality of the production.
In the "pants role" as Edwin Drood, Caitlin Greene commanded the stage. Her broad smile, fine singing and acting, gave her a winning performance.
As Rosa Bud, Amanda Smith was radiant. She was a perfect choice as the charming, eternal ingénue; with her lovely, well trained, lyric soprano voice.
Tyla Rodrigo as Helena Landless, grabbed your attention the moment she entered on stage. Her exotic beauty and musical theatre skills were captivating.
As Neville Landless, handsome, Nicholas Hoop shined in his role. He provoked laughter by simply staring and raising an eyebrow, in a theatrical "tak" to the audience.
Then there was the rubenesque, Princess Puffer, played to the hilt, with delightful bawdiness, by Heather Spillane. Ms. Spillane's naughty rendition of the "Wages of Sin", was enthralling.
Sandy Yosha's portrayal was spot-on, comical as the Stage Manager.
Last but not least, the highlight performance by an actor in a supporting role, goes to... Mikey Reichert as Bazzard/Phillip Bax. His mere entrances and exits onstage, brought with it gales of laughter. Mr. Reichert was clearly an audience favorite.
Other outstanding performances included Will Hession as Reverend Crisparkle, Patti Rinner as Durdles, and Tyler Wood as Deputy. Rounding out the talented cast were, Victoria Primosch, Rachel Knowles, Rachel Romo, Hannah Bach, Christopher Warren, Kevin Lara, Ryan Gale, and Cameron Kubley.
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