REVIEW: Brigadoon another reason to revere all things Scottish

Take us back to Brigadoon.

The audience really loved it there. That enchanted Scottish village is portrayed as beauti­fully as it was meant to be in this production, living up to its full potential with inspiring music, highland dance, and joyful presentation.

The story begins with two American tourists who get lost in the hills of Scotland’s north and come upon a village in the middle of nowhere. It is not on any map and it is called Briga­doon. They are made most welcome by its merry folk and find much of what was missing in their lives at home. There is something mystical about the place and the travellers find they must make a choice before nightfall or lose Brigadoon for­ever.

The lass with a most beauti­ful soprano is Leah Oster, as Fiona MacLearan. She has been waiting for her true love to come along – for 100 years or more. Out of the mist appears tourist Tommy Albright, played by Paul McQuillan. What en­sues is a love story with an urg­ent enigma; whether to follow head or heart. Both actors are familiar on the Drayton Enter­tainment scene and their per­form­ances are both truly heart­felt and heady.

The not-so-romantic cou­ple, preferring to get down to busi­ness as evidenced by his donning of the triumphant plaid pants, are Stephen Patterson as the other traveller, and Karen Coughlin as the loveable lass with the willin’ ways. The two provide much humour as in Coughlin’s funny refrain The Love Of My Life. Their joyfully comedic performances add a touch of earthiness to life at Brigadoon.

The betrothed couple are Matt Wagman and Rachel Crow­ther as Charlie Dalrymple and Jean MacLaren. They are the salt of the earth and their I’ll Go Home with Bonnie Jean and the Bobbie Jean Ballet are sweet and touching to hear and see.

Bad hat and thwarted threat to that couple and to Brigadoon itself is performed with drama­tic darkness by Chad McFad­den. Victor Roberts, as his fath­er, gives a moving performance in reaction.

Lee MacDougall is the resi­dent sage and as Mr. Lundie plays the part with conviction and dignity. He is memorable from many Drayton perform­ances such as The Foursome and The Odd Couple.

Brian McKay makes a won­derful transition from actor to director in this production. He is famous on the Drayton Enter­tainment scene, to name one, as a part of Dirty Rotten Scoun­drels, a show so successful it went -on to include a 22-week North American tour. He works his magic here again in this new capacity, bringing the best forward.

Gino Berti has done won­ders with choreography. One particularly enthralling exam­ple is the Sword Dance and Reel scene performed flawless­ly and with pride.

The orchestra though small, makes a big impression. Music Director Steve Thomas leads, and includes two bagpipers. The audiences’ wishes are ans­w­ered when one of them ap­pears onstage in full regalia as the mournfully touching Fun­eral Song pulls on heartstrings.

A talented ensemble cast with a children’s chorus to boot add even further delight to the show.

Set and costume designer Allan Wilbee has created a beautiful painted set to reflect the Scottish hills with a touch of magic. The Scottish and villagers’ period costumes are gorgeous and enough to make one wish they were in fashion today.

Written by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe and pre­miering on Broadway in 1947, this whimsical musical has been charming audiences the world over ever since.

Now there is all the more rea­son to revere all things Scot­tish.

Brigadoon plays eight shows a week through Oct. 10. Tickets may be purchased by calling the Drayton Festival Theatre Box Office at 519-638-5555 or toll free at 1-888-449-4463. For more information visit drayton­festival­the­