Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sunday in the Park, Musicale, Bastrop Opera House, April 17 - May 9

Bastrop's serenely strolling musicale Sunday in the Park recalled that quaint Victorian device, the cardboard puppet theatre -- an elaborate dollhouse stage in which children could push forward stylized cardboard cutouts, imagining dialogue and story. In this production, Engela Edwards of Easy Theatre, Bastrop Opera's long-serving general director Chester Eitze and choreographer Laura Goff create for us a never-land version of an America small town, circa 1915.

They draw on songbooks of the era, lightly and whimsically staging almost 50 songs with fetching melodies, most of them familiar. These are the agreeable melodies you might find on player piano rolls or, once upon a time, in the yellowing music sheets inside Grandma's piano stool. The large cast performs them with affection, in a succesion of tableaus and skits without spoken dialogue (except for "Delaney's Donkey," a mock-epic comic tale about a village race, done by Nick Collier in his character as the village policeman).

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