September 15th, 2011


Big River

Last night was Big River at the Lyric Stage. I was teasing mathhobbit with the Boston Globe review, which summarized to "It was good, but not nearly as good as the amazing Nicholas Nickleby from last year"; I wasn't very fond of NN, and she really didn't like it (and it took up two show slots!). Happily, from our point of view, it was not "not nearly as good as Nicholas Nickleby.".

The music was generally catchy and fun; I'm not really sure why there was a song with Tom Sawyer singing a paean to hogs, but it was cute. At the beginning, I think that the cast and orchestra weren't quite in step, but then they got to Pap Finn's "Dad Gum Guvmint", and he nailed what seemed to me to be dad gum difficult timing with while making it seem effortless enough to do while drunk, so I forgave them all again.

The stage's board backdrop started out with the occasional illustration from the book projected on it, which was okay, but when they got on the river, it switched to actual river - video of water and bank, tweaked to look more illustrated-style, and that really worked well for me. It put them very solidly On A River.

I did wonder about the rafting going on here. What is Huck doing? (The rope is attached to the front of the raft). Is he steering? Just bracing in case of rough water? (The set was, unsurprisingly, not up to the task of raft lurches) It looks like he's doing something useful, the way Jim is poling, but I have zero experience with this kind of river rafting and can't tell what it is.