BWW Review: SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES at Delaware Theatre Company
Courtesy of Guest Reviewer, Shamma Casson
There's still a few chances left to witness this amazing spectacle of a musical. Don't miss it!
Based upon the novel by Ray Bradbury, SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, . presented by Delaware Theatre Company and co-produced with Yonge Street Theatricals, is a vaudevillian, visual delight adapted by Brian Hill, with Neil Bartram as the show's composer. We are first introduced to a lightening rod salesman (Steve Pacek) who acts as the narrator for the tale. He introduces us to Will Halloway, (John Francis Babbo) a skittish and oft neglected teen. Opposite is Jim Nightshade, (Sawyer Nunes) a freedom seeker, who is rebelling against his smothering mother and their sleepy town.
Will and Jim are best friends who live in Green Town, Illinois during the depression era of the 1930's. On a late October evening, they receive word that a mysterious traveling carnival is coming to town. Curious, the young lads venture out to the site and witness a strange supernatural occurrence. Both frightened and intrigued they promise to attend the carnival the next day to find out more. The entire town swiftly becomes hypnotized by the carnival leader, Mr. Dark of "Cooger and Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show." The boys realize that their town is in danger of being seduced by the carnival. With their pleas of caution unheard, Will and Jim, now have to battle the strange carnival. They turn to Will's uninterested father; who may hold the key to hindering Cooger and Dark from causing further harm.
Director Rachel Rockwell could be seen in the audience before the show, nearly jumping out of her skin for joy, and it is clear to see why. This cast is talented beyond imagination. The strong, skillfully crafted personas made it difficult to choose a favorite. Perhaps the most flawless performance came from that of the two leading boys. My biggest concern heading into the show was that their performance would be the weakest part of the show...I stand corrected; they were incredible and kept me hooked into the story. Tony Award nominee Stephen Bogardus, neatly styled Will's neglectful father into a solid performance, although perhaps a touch too dry. Rob Riddle as Mr. Dark is thatand more. Dark, shadowy and fully compelling, Mr. Riddle never relents from his sinister character. Meghan Murphy, with her powerhouse vocals (that shook the whole room) as the Dust Witch, kept my hair standing on end. She was blind but could see into your soul. The type of shady character I would never want to cross in the real world.
Honestly, this show wouldn't be a show without heavy technical elements. A series of projectors were used, along with two projector screens, to create interiors and mask transitions. The audio had slight troubles at first; some distortions in the beginning and after intermission, but quickly went away and didn't interfere with the score. What I found to be the most impressive visual, was the costuming used for Mr. Dark's tattoos. A mix of sheer cloth body suit, assisted by projections to make the tattoos on his body move in almost kaleidoscopic fashion. It blew me away!
Overall, Something Wicked is a perfectly timed visual masterpiece, with compelling leading characters and a strong ensemble. The story and score were of pleasing quality. It had just the right amount of darkness and intensity to keep you engaged throughout the entire show. The twist at end made me jump out of my seat. I would recommend to everyone who wants to witness a production of Broadway value.
DELAWARE THEATRE COMPANY
200 Water Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Box Office: (302) 594-1100