Review by Anita Flegg
For today’s airport-savvy travelers, the definition of carousel is the gadget that takes interminably long to display one’s luggage. In the forties when Rogers & Hammerstein created their Broadway play…everyone knew it meant only a merry-go-round. CAROUSEL is an odd musical; whose second act is perhaps more understandable to its early—post war—audiences in 1945. Today, the idea of our protagonist coming back from Heaven for one more shot at redemption seems a little dated, and perhaps a little too pat. Nevertheless, this is a solid production, with good enough acting to make us care about the characters and events that unfold. Photo courtesy of Alan Dean
The lead actors are good, and the audience can believe in their love and loss. Although the singing is uneven with the singers sometimes seemingly oblivious to the orchestra, their energy and enthusiasm carries us through the rough spots. Especially forceful is Dave Rowan, as Jigger, who is triple-threat performer: – his voice; presence, and for his superior dancing. There is strong support from Kodi Cannon as Enoch Snow; and Susanna Atkinson, as Carrie. In fact, Atkinson steals every scene she is in with her excellent energy and stage presence. A special mention must also go to Jasmine Lee, as Louise: – her dance in the second act was spellbinding.
The set design is very good and the set changes are natural and easy; noticeable but not distracting from the action. We make very natural transitions from the fair to the forest, from Nettie’s spa to the seaside, and even a visit to Heaven. The Carousel itself was a lovely thing—assembled by the actors from three parts for the fair scene, and even made to spin with the actors enjoying a ride. Single portions of the Carousel appeared in several of the other scenes; a subtle reminder and unifier through the play.
With all its faults, this show is carried by the real emotion all of the actors presented throughout. Carousel runs until June 9th at Ottawa’s Centrepointe Theatre. It is certainly an enjoyable evening’s entertainment.