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Sunday, June 28, 2015

An Evening on the Mississippi

No one seemed too excited about The Big River when we first heard it was the 3rd for this year's Music Circus productions. My initial thoughts on the production were Mark Twain, the Mississippi, yeah, whatever. And earlier this evening, one of the production managers told the ushers this was the best production of The Big River he'd ever seen anywhere, and there was a bit of interest shown, but nothing overwhelming.

Well, holy crap, or should I say, Tarnation! That was one powerful big production, and I and every other usher (oh, yeah, and the rest of the fifteen hundred audience members) enjoyed the hell out of The Big River. I thought for entertainment as well as performances, it out did the Music Circus' two previous season productions by a country mile or three. Just my opinion, but really, I am powerful sad I see these plays on their last night, because when the curtain goes down, it's done and over, in Sacramento at least. I must say I wish I'd seen this production on its first  night so I could crow about it to friends. Yes suh, it was that fine.

The big star of the show was the Mississippi River. For an entity so huge, it managed to be present in most of scenes, and convincingly so. I'll get back to it in a bit. Now the two human stand outs were  Huck Finn and his friend Jim, as the musical is based on the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. In this production Huck was played by a man, who for his height and all convincingly played a boy as did the other 'boys': Tom and their rascally friends. Surprisingly, men playing scallywag boys didn't dissolve the heart of the story. Huck was a total crack up with his lines, that sometimes seemed to go in one direction, but then swung back the other way like he was fishing for catfish in the audience; so freakn' cute. The other stand out was Big Jim, the runaway slave, particularly for his wonderful bass voice which was in fine fettle for tonight's final performance. He and Finn struck out to run away to Freedom, or certainly adventure.

Said I'd come back to the River's starting roll in the production, but hey, you can see it here in these clips. I wish this play had a dress rehearsal because I certainly would have enjoyed seeing it a second time. This video gives you the gist of the lovely music, but doesn't give away any of the belly laughs that seem to flowed as deep as the Mississippi on that ensy little Music Circus stage.

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