|the Liberty Committee (photo by Tony Nelson)
The musical is performed in a highly stylized, over exaggerated sort of style (which I'm beginning to think is what people mean by "Brechtian" #maureenimnotatheaterperson). Everyone in the 17-person cast fully commits to it, bringing us lots of crazed characterizations of these mostly horrible people. They function really well as a cohesive unit, and there's not a weak link among them. To mention just a few highlights, Kate Beahen brings a humanity and a crystal clear voice to the prostitute character, probably the most human and relatable character on stage. J.C. Cutler is gleefully evil as Mr. Mister, and Molly Sue McDonald is the embodiment of elegant evil as Mrs. Mister. Chelise Newhard and Sasha Andreev complete this disgusting but very entertaining family. And just truly everyone in the cast that I don't have time or space to mention here (check out the cast list here, they're all wonderful).
|Mrs. Mister (Molly Sue McDonald, photo by Tony Nelson)
The look of the show is also very consistent with the tone - bright and colorful and exaggerated. The whimsical set (designed by Sara Herman) includes removable signage to mark locations and a darling push car. Costumes (designed by Kathy Kohl) are big and bold and very specific to character (my favorites are Mrs. Mister's parade of gorgeous elegant dresses that go just a little too far). Bold, cartoonish make-up completes the look.
Frank Theatre is celebrating their 30th year, bringing back a re-staging of this popular show from 2003. It's a great example of what they do best - a classic piece of theater that's still hugely relevant and speaks directly to the world we live in, very thoughtfully and thoroughly performed in a very stylized and consistent way. Check them out at Gremlin Theatre in St. Paul through April 7.