Show Boat at Lakewood Theatre Company, May 2 - June 8, 2014 - Sampling from the Willamette Week Review

 

Theater review: The production value is high, especially the elaborate costumes with top hats, ruffled bloomers and bustles aplenty.

Published: Wednesday, May 7, 2014,

 

Carmen Brantley Payne, Laila Murphy, Jennifer Davies in Show Boat at Lakewood Theatre Company, May 2 - June 8, 2014Pictured: Carmen Brantley-Payne, Laila Murphy and Jennifer Davies in Lakewood Theatre Company's production of Show Boat, playing May 2 - June 8, 2014 at Lakewood Theatre.

Photo by Triumph Photographers.

Considering it was first brought to the stage in 1927, Show Boat addresses some controversial questions, including interracial marriage, gambling addiction and race relations in the South. But like any good musical comedy, it manages to tie up the messy loose ends in a colorful bow, and with a high-stepping musical number.

The Jerome Kern-Oscar Hammerstein show also contributed some beloved songs to the musical theater catalog, including “Ol’ Man River” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ Dat Man,” which this Lakewood Theatre Company cast performs capably enough.A few voices stand out, namely Jennifer Davies’ crystalline soprano as Magnolia Hawks and Geoffery Simmons’ soulful bass as Joe.

Spanning four decades, the show’s ebullient choreography serves as a social timeline as the characters cakewalk, fox trot and chicken scratch their way through failed marriages and racial tensions. The production value is high, too, especially the elaborate costumes with top hats, ruffled bloomers and bustles aplenty. It all may seem a little ridiculous and antiquated in presentation, but the underlying, universal metaphor of being swept through life on a current we cannot control is what keeps Show Boat afloat after all these years—well, that and all those high kicks.trumpet.
- Penelope Bass, 5/7/14

Click here to go to the Willamette Week website for the review