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Quirky Carnival! characters charm
Performances are July 8-24 at Bainbridge High School Theater. Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 p.m. with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m.
General admission: $24 for adults, $19 for seniors (55+), students and military (active or retired) and $15 for children 12 and under.
Ovation! Musical Theatre leans toward heartwarming stories and it goes full tilt with its summer production, Carnival! Set at the end of World War II, the show explores “what makes people survive and stay together,” said Director Ron Milton at Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal.
“It’s a magical story with quirky characters who support each other,” he said. “Their quirkiness makes them a family.”
The show is an intimate portrait of oversized dreams bulging from the confines of life in a rinky dink carnival, run by the larger-than-life B.F. Schlegel, played robustly by Pete Simpson.
The quaint ensemble does a balancing act: vacillating between its hopes and fears.
The intrigue begins when innocent orphan Lili, played by fresh-faced songbird Myriah Riedel, wanders into the rough-and-tumble world of the traveling show.
She is charmed by the treacherous heel, Marco The Magnificent, (Nick Martin), much to the chagrine of The Incomparable Rosalie, played, tra-la, with spunk by leggy Adrienne Palay. Tra-la.
Todd Hulet, who doubles as the show’s Musical Director, plays the placating Jacquot, soothing the bruised dreams of puppeteer and once-famed-dancer Paul Berthalet, played like an old-world crooner by Paul Bryan.
Hands down, the quirk-factor rises with a troupe of plot-pivoting puppets.
A cadre of carnies round out the cast, packing the stage in a spirited spectacle to toe-tapping music from the production’s live orchestra.
“You love them, you hate them. They do unexpected things. It’s an evening of good theater,” said Milton.
Vintage posters set the Parisian tone, and provided inspiration for Shannin Strom-Henry’s superb costume designs, including several spot-on confections for Lili.