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Tom Sawyer: Ain’t Theatre Fine!

By • Apr 1st, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Tom Sawyer, the Musical performed by Dominion Stage [MP3 5:16 4.8MB]; or read the transcript.

Laura: Tonight was opening night for Tom Sawyer, the Musical performed by Dominion Stage.

Mike: And this is just what you think it is: Mark Twain’s novel set to music.

Laura: I liked it a lot.

Mike: I liked this show a lot. I didn’t know what to expect other than a quick refresh of Tom Sawyer. They hit all of the high points. The stage version made it to broadway. It was really good.

Laura: Yes, I really enjoyed it. It’s definitely something you can take the whole family to and have an enjoyable evening. I liked Eben Kuhns who played Tom Sawyer. I thought he had a nice voice and good emotions and reacted well to his situation.

Mike: Tom’s Aunt Polly was played by Kat Brais. She had a really nice singing voice. You could really feel her love for Tom and her exasperation for some of the antics he did at school and church. But she still loved him. You could see that in the scene of tucking him in bed after he had had a bad dream and he wouldn’t tell her about it. She had a really nice solo, “This Time Tomorrow.”

Laura: Nathan Ward played the character Huck Finn. I was also impressed with his portrayal of his character. I thought he did well and also had a good singing voice.

Mike: Becky Thatcher was the love interest of Tom Sawyer. She did a good job. Rachel Weber was the actress.

Laura: Since tonight was opening night there were some technical issues. There were audio problems in Act 1. Tom Sawyer’s mic wasn’t quite in the right place when he started. But that was fixed quickly and Act 2 and 3 were much better.

Mike: He did play with his microphone over his ear a little bit. Unfortunately it’s a black color so it is very obvious that some of the actors had ear mikes and others didn’t. None of the adults had microphones. they all blended together pretty well. The murder that took place at the cemetery by Injun Joe wasn’t really well done. It brought laughter from the audience. When Injun Joe stabbed Doc Robinson in the back, he reacted to the first stabbing and then froze for the next three knife thrusts by Injun Joe. He didn’t react to the new stabbings and it looked a bit funny. I hope that can be worked on.

Laura: The set was good. It was a simple set. The cave scene was good. I thought the transition from the cave scene back to the town scene was slow and some of the momentum was lost.

Mike: We were watching them lug set pieces around and carry props on and off stage. It was distracting. I wish they could have pulled the curtain during that scene and had Tom, Becky, and Huck limping back towards town in front of the curtain. That would have shown time passing as they were walking.

Laura: I did like the one set change between the Widow Douglas and Huck Finn and the way they arranged that and actually rolled the set piece forward on stage. I thought that was very good.

Mike: That was really well done and it was a surprise that it rolled forward. The costuming was really good. It looked like the 1840’s. There were no belts or watches. Some of the actors actually had ropes holding up their pants. Huck does need some dirt, though. He is a vagabond. In the first act he has a song in which he says he needs to be clean if he went to live with the widow, but he already is clean. His hair was nicely combed. He needs to be roughed up in the first act. He needs some dirt on his hands and face, maybe on his neck. His hair also needs to be mussed up.

Laura: The cave scene was good. All of the actors needed to have lanterns that lit. I don’t know if they were glow sticks or actual candles, but they all needed to have lights.

Mike: Some of the lanterns that were carried actually did have a candle, you could see it flickering; but a lot of the children running through the cave looking for Tom and Becky did not have lanterns that were lit. The lighting was really good. The night scenes were lit in blues and dark colors. The cave scene had blues and reds, which accented their funky cave walls. The church and the school scenes were nice and bright. So all in all Tom Sawyer, the Musical was really good. I think you’ll enjoy it. Bring the family to see a good show.

Laura: It is playing through April 15th at Theater One at the Gunston Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia.

Mike: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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