Top Theaters Doing What They Do Best

Brigit Treatment Terrific on Tartuffe

For the first time in recent years, you can see Omaha’s top theaters at their best on the same weekend. That couldn’t happen when Brigit St. Brigit and the Blue Barn shared the Downtown Space in the Old Market.

There’s A Christmas Carol, of course, at the Omaha Community Playhouse, joined Friday through New Year’s Eve by the McGuigan brothers doing Yesterday and Today, their interactive Beatles show that fits so perfectly into the smaller Howard Drew setting.

The recent visit by the Rain Beatles tribute to the Orpheum was full of big production treats, recreating the great Brit invasion, but maybe our familiarity with Billy, Matthew and Ryan McGuigan’s treatment of that memorable songbook explains why we’d prefer their musical dialogue with local audiences.

It’s always fun to share their family memories with local fans who explain why certain Beatles songs are their top choices.

But my annual claim that their show ranks as my favorite night in a theater (in terms of just plain pleasure) was tested recently by the Blue Barn comedy reviewed in this week’s Reader and by Brigit’s wonderful treatment of Tartuffe at Joslyn Castle.

That handsome music room setting and the period costumes helped, but you’ll rarely see so many first-rate performances which make every rhyming line of Moliere’s script just one delight after another.

John Durbin was masterful as the title’s hypocritical holy man and Laura Leininger would’ve have stolen the show from a less capable cast. She was the maid famous for her saucy tongue, who wonders at her master’s willingness to give his daughter’s hand to Tartuffe.

“Doesn’t it seem a trifle grim to give a girl like her to a man like him?” she asks. With false humility, Durbin’s Tartuffe proclaims, “Though the world would take me as a man of worth, I am the most unfit man on earth.”

He gets that right. And the rest of the cast directed by Cathy M.W. Kurz gets everything else right—from MaryBeth Adams as the master’s wife pursued by Tartuffe to Erika DeBoer as the daughter, Charleen J.B. Willoughby as the master’s mother and Eric Salonis as Orgon, the master of the house.

Orgon and his mother are totally taken in by Tartuffe’s apparent piety, while everyone else, from the maid to his son (Eric Grant-Leanna) and brother-in-law (Scott Working) see clearly that he’s a fraud.

It’s exactly the sort of classic that Brigit does best and you have only two more chances to catch it Dec. 4 and Dec. 9 at the castle.

 

Cold Cream looks at theater in the metro area. Email information to coldcream@thereader.com.

posted at 10:04 am
on Sunday, November 27th, 2011

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