Book and lyrics by Tom Jones, based on The Fourposter by Jan de Hartog
Music by Harvey Schmidt
Directed & Choreographed by Marc Richard
Musical direction by David Myers
Performed by Brian McKay, Karen Wood
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
August 24 to September 11, 2004
Reviewed by Mary Alderson
Good attempt despite tired, dated script
“I Do! I Do!”, a musical based on the play “The Fourposter”, is showing its age. The story is old and dated, and perpetuates myths and stereotypes that just aren’t so funny any more. And it seems to progress at a very slow pace.
It’s about a couple and it covers their life from their wedding day through fifty years of marriage. Their constant bickering and their extra-marital affairs aren’t humourous, just pathetic. One wonders why they stuck it out – there really isn’t much evidence of love, or even that they enjoy each other’s company.
The only touching moment comes when they sing “My cup runneth over with love” – but one sweet moment out of fifty years isn’t enough to save this plot.
The show has only two characters – Brian McKay as Michael and Karen Wood as Agnes. Both actors give very good performances for the material they were given. It’s a challenge for only two people on stage to carry an entire show, but they make a very admirable effort.
McKay’s musical theatre talents show through – he’s triple threat in this role, his singing, dancing and acting are excellent. In fact, he is better suited to this part than the part he had in “Thumbs” earlier this season. Similarly, Wood plays the part of Agnes very well. Much of the comedy comes from her facial expressions – some of her wide-eyed looks are reminiscent of Lucille Ball. McKay and Wood have beautiful singing voices and they blended together quite well.
Both could have really shone with a faster paced plot and updated dialogue featuring modern humour, and not trying to make jokes based on old clichés about male-female relationships.
The program says the story covers fifty years of marriage beginning in 1898, but on an insert it is corrected to 1953. While the costumes matched the more modern dates, the clothing made the dated dialogue sound even stranger.
There are some technical difficulties with the production. At times, the sound is so loud it is distorted through the speakers. This usually happens when the couple get close to each other and their mics are picking up each other’s voices. Other times, their speaking is barely audible. On occasion, lighting is so bright that their faces are blanched out.
“I Do! I Do!” continues with eight shows a week at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until September 11. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or (519) 882-1221 for tickets.