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Theater Info for the Washington DC region

Pickwick Players The Scarlet Pimpernel

By • May 11th, 2011 • Category: Reviews
The Scarlet Pimpernel
Pickwick Players
Belmont Ridge Middle School, Leesburg, VA
Through May 14th
2:45 with one intermission
$12/$10 Seniors/Children
Reviewed May 7th, 2011

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a musical with book and lyrics by Nan Knighton and music by Frank Wildhorn. The time period is during the French Revolution and tells the story of an underground movement that attempts to bring peace to France by using a spy known as “The Scarlet Pimpernel.”

Tim Silk as Sir Percival Blakeney delivered a sincere performance in the musical. He was as clear as he could be and his emotions were easy to follow. Charlotte Hays portrayed his wife Marguerite as a determined sweet girl with a strong will to live. Her singing could generally be heard and her smile brought hope to all who saw her. The villain Chauvelin played by Michael had a commanding presence and a constant scowl throughout the performance. The rest of the large ensemble cast looked like they were enjoying themselves. They seemed to put a fair amount of energy into the scenes and even though they were hard to hear they appeared to be enjoying themselves. Also, be aware that some roles are double cast, so other performances may have different actors in the roles of Percival or Armand.

The orchestra sounded great, despite being shoehorned into the corner of the room. The set was fairly basic, with a few wall units serving as a patio, garden, or a French street; and a large clock along the upstage wall. A large boat was a surprise, as was the working guillotine that feaured prominently in several scenes. Robert Boumeester’s fight choreogaphy featured several sword fights which used much of the stage and part of the aisle in the house.

Although this production had some great special effects (the opening scene features Marguerite on a swing 10 feet above the stage) and a pretty enthusiastic cast of characters, other technical aspects handicapped the show. The auditorium was a middle school and with an orchestra, mics, and high ceilings you had sounds bouncing round the room and disappearing into the roof. This made the songs nearly impossible to hear and understand. Even the spoken dialogue was sometimes muddled. You may be able to hear better if you sit close to the stage. The tech crew also seemed to be in a hurry to clear the set and get the next scene ready. This caused your attention to shift from the action on stage to a scene change. There were also several scenes where cast members would exit through the house’s exits, allowing a jarring flash of light into the theatre. Exits in the house and backstage should be shielded to reduce the distraction.

Despite the technical hurdles, this is an opportunity to see a production rarely performed in the DC region. The Scarlet Pimpernel is not appropriate for most young children due to its implied and onstage violence.

Cast

  • Sir Percival Blakeney: Tim Silk, Jacob Mason
  • Marguerite St. Just: Charlotte Hays
  • Chauvelin: Michael Hale
  • Armand St. Just: Kyle Mann, Jacob Mason
  • Marie Grosholz: Holly Abbe
  • Ozzy: Robert Bouwmeester
  • Dewhurst/Prince of Wales: Geary Younce
  • Elton/Tussaud: Cliff Cummings
  • Farleigh: Kyle Mann
  • Hal/St. Cyr: Mark Thomas
  • Ben: Ben Shulman
  • Robespierre: Milan Detweiler
  • Mercier: Michael Fontenot
  • Coupeau: Dan Clark
  • Mrs Jessup: Donna Russell
  • Sentries: Jeyhan Turker, Bailey Kincaid
  • Ensemble: Lisa Hale Merilee Cummings, Loralee Price, Melodie Price, Asli Necioglu, Anita Ault, Melissa Murphy, Nate Schradeer, Jessica Parone, Abby Irons, Elise Abbe, Gokce Necioglu, Amelia Abbe

Orchestra

  • Piano: Mindy Coons
  • Reeds: Jeannie Farnsworth
  • Violin: Marie Wride
  • Clarinet: Gary Shepherd
  • Horn: Angelika Kirchmeyer
  • Bass Trombone: Steve Ligon
  • Trumpet: Dan Fairholm
  • Reeds: Katherine Nieman
  • Percussion: Reed Henry

Pit Singers

  • Michelle Detweiler, Julia Thomas, Tim Silk, Milan Detweiler

Crew

  • Producer: Merilee Cummings
  • Director: Michele Reynolds
  • Vocal Director: Melissa Murphy
  • Instrumental Director: Warren Cordes
  • Choreographer: Amanda Estep
  • Costumer: Deirde Breithaupt
  • Set Boss: John Karren
  • Publicity: Trudi Hays
  • Poster Design: Vanessa Rivera
  • Box Office: Derya Turker
  • Props: Anita Ault, Trina Neel
  • Fight Choreographer: Robert Boumeester
  • Concessions: Val Irons
  • Set Design & Construction: Geary Younce, Cliff Cummings, Robert Bouwmeester, Michael Hale, Michele Reynolds, Kyle Mann, Val Irons
  • Costume Construction: Trina Neel, Merile Cummings, Carol Younce, Robyn Price, Michele Reynolds, Sydney Breithaupt, Anita Ault

Disclaimer: The Pickwick Players provided two complimentary media tickets to ShowBizRadio for this review. TPP also purchased advertising on the ShowBizRadio.net web site, which did not influence this review.

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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.

3 Responses »

  1. No nod for the costumes? They were great!

  2. I’m sad you didn’t see both casts. I saw Jacob Mason as Percy, he was a powerhouse! And Robert Boumeester’s Chauvelin was compelling, moving, and frightening at the same time. By far the best production I’ve seen in years, also there was no tech problems when I saw the show Saturday night.

  3. Thanks for the kind review. We’re glad you liked it!