BWW Review: THE FANTASTICKS at Ridgedale Players Delights With Whimsy Humor and Character-Driven Storylines
Interested in an unusual yet delightful night of theatre? Head on over to the Ridgedale Players this weekend, May 17th through the 19th, where you can see The Fantasticks for just three more performances. As the world's longest running musical, The Fantasticks ran off-Broadway from 1960 until 2002, or in other words, 17,162 performances. It's become one of the most-produced shows for regional and school productions to put on, and there's many good reasons why. The cast is small but acts large, the music seems to span several genres, and the story is rather whimsical. Working together to make a polished final product, the cast of Ridgedale Players tells this tale with pure exuberance and a genuine love for the art of theatre.
In short, The Fantasticks is about two feuding fathers. One has a son, one has a daughter, and they fall in love with each other to the great "dismay" of their fathers. While the first act centers on their love story, the second act focuses on the two children individually and how they find their way back to one another. It's loosely based on Edmond Rostand's romantic play, Les Romanesques, and features elements of several different Shakespeare stories. As such, there's a lot to unpack throughout the story, which keeps it exciting.
Outside of the songs, my favorite element of this show were the actors themselves. In some shows, you can tell that the actors don't totally "get" their characters. In this production, however, it's the exact opposite. Every single one of the nine cast members fully embody who they portray, which was super refreshing. Perhaps my favorite performances that I often found myself focusing on were Brianna Lambrecht as Luisa, Herstyn Jones as Mortimer, and Magali Palmer-Young as one of the Mutes. Jones' golden comedic timing never fails to make the audience roar with laughter, and Lambrecht truly has a voice far beyond her years. Furthermore, although she plays a character who doesn't talk, Palmer-Young's silent vibrancy is reminiscent of a fairy who flitters around the stage, hungrily curious about whatever's currently happening.
All in all, if you're at all a theatre fan of any kind, you've got to go to see Ridgedale Players' production of The Fantasticks before it closes this Sunday, May 19th. If not for the actors, go because it's historically one of the most significant musicals of all time, and it hardly ever makes its way to the Metro Detroit area. That alone makes it worth the price of admission.
Directed by Jenna Kellie Pittman, The Fantasticks runs at Troy's Ridgedale Players through this Sunday, May 19th. For more information and tickets, visit http://ridgedaleplayers.com/.