|The Concord Journal|
|Cast excels in musical 'The Apple War'|
|By R.L. Holman|
The latest production of the Concord Players and the Friends of the Performing Arts in Concord (FOPAC) is "The Apple War" which opened at 51 Walden on Saturday.
A delightful little musical greared to entertain a wide age reange, it stars David Gould and Bob Peters as two warring kings; Norma O'Brien as the peace-making queen, and Tom Ruggles and Charles Brown as all-purpose ministers, soldiers, side-kicks, apple-pickers and court jesters.
The cast is uniformly strong, an appealing set of singing and dancing fairy-book characters telling us a familiar but worthwhile story about war and peace.
The show sports a most professional look, thanks in great measure to the outstanding costumes and make-up by Faith Lucozzi. The fabulously playful colors, wigs, petticoats, crowns, medals and ribbons adorn the players, giving immediate definition to the characters and providing visual pleasure throughout the show.
Excellent lighting, well-planned use of the full stage space, and spare but effective props and scenery complete the highly professional look of the show.. The cast is confident and engaging, comfortably interacting with their audience, and sure of their lines and moves.
This enjoyable show tells the story of old friends, King Sam and King Oscar who fall out over the picking of apples. Queen Edna's efforts to persuade an indecisive
King Sam to cancel the war in favour of holding his own birthday party instead almost in vain, until William provides an inadvertent and amusing method of deciding. King Oscar, however, is in danger of refusing to come to the party until Harvey reminds him that the party will provide an occasion for dancing.
A more delightful dancing king than Bob Peters cannot be imagined. He steals the show in the number "How Do You Tell A King?" His character is reminiscent of the Cowardly Lion, as played by Bert Lahr, and his use of the full range of voice, body language, and facial expression is excellent.
Overall the pace could be a bit brisker and some opportunities for silent mugging betweenw characters are missed.
These are minor defects, however, in an afternoon of delightful entertainment. "Apples" and "Friends" are particularly enjoyable tunes with good lyrics.
The special effects in "It's War" capture the full attention of even the youngest member of the audience.
The strongest singer in the cast is David Gould who handles several solos with aplomb.
Tom Ruggles' rubber face makes for some very funny moments, as does Charles Brouwn's equally effective deadpan. As the only woman in the cast, Norma O'Brien deserves strong praise for yet another fine production. His Apple War provides a bright and bouncy family entertainment, alive with color, music, and dancing.