Romp through Fantasy Scotland as silly and enchanting as ever
It’s a long time since I’ve seen Brigadoon (it only appears every hundred years) and I loved the Music Theater Works edition now on view in Skokie.
The set by Ann Davis gave an accurate taste of what we were in for - all hazy low stone bridge
with mountains beyond. How something as solid as a large bridge can look ephemeral and
insubstantial is testament to her skill. The two Americans lost while hunting seemed too big for
the small stage at first, their pantomime postures and unnecessary movement jarred, but this is
opera so larger-than-life it is. Sasha Gerritson’s direction has the cast nimbly filling the whole
stage, and I was in awe of the precise choreography by Clayton Cross, and the dancers, that
they did not collide mid Highland Fling on such a small stage.
The dances morphed from Scottish Country dancing to ballet in a beautiful and seamless way
and the ensemble were all adept. Susannah Elizabeth Harvey brought grace to Jean as she
danced before and at her wedding. The ensemble were diverse and I was glad to see size and
race inclusivity in a good dancing troop. I spotted some female audience members in Highland
dress and it was delightful that they danced in the foyer at the interval.
Jazmin Aurora Medina clearly had fun designing costumes for this show. Full Ren Faire
embroidered gauze skirts, ornate bodices with bright ribbons and flower crowns abounded.
They worked very well with the 1940s costumes of the visitors, Zachery Linnet as Jeff in
second world war military style outdoor gear and Conor Jordan’s Tommy wearing his fitted
ribbed shirt very well. Jean’s bridal headdress beautifully conveyed the period and her youth.
The leads were great - voices blended and were lovely. The comic supports of Jeff and Meg
( Madison Kauffman) gave good lusty milkmaid and exhausted pursued lover. The stand out
performance was Will Leonard as Harry Beaton. His steely faced sword dance was both
hilarious and really menacing. Harry and Jeff are the characters NOT enchanted by this fantasy
world preserved in aspic away from the corrupting influences of progress. They make sure the
play is not cloying and raise real questions about whether it is better to stay in a dream state or
engage with the world.
The best moment for me was when Tommy lives with his decision not to stay with Fiona and
exists in a nether world of regret and sadness. His debate with Jeff about how you can make
huge life decisions when either path is unknown resonates down the ages. He gets a taste of
life without Fiona, in New York, and is not alive at all. Conor Jordan’s desolate dislocation from
his fiancee in the bar touches all of us, making us relive the horrendous isolating pain of
So yes it is a silly play with some lovely tunes, simple fairytale set and costumes, with some
great moments about the human condition that ring emotionally true, and perhaps most
importantly, very well done by Musical Theater Works. Go see it.
Brigadoon plays at Northshore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie at 9501 Skokie Blvd Wednesdays through Sundays, through November 12th.
Tickets at MusicTheaterWorks.com $39-$106, half price for under 25s.