CHRISTOPHER CARTMILL

Cartmill's THE SPECTRE BRIDEGROOM in Washington State production - article by Darren Oke

"Tonight I had the pleasure of attending Everett High School’s spring play, “The Spectre Bridegroom”, in the school’s “Little Theater”, and was treated to a very entertaining and nearly flawless theatrical presentation.  On the surface, I wasn’t sure that a play about possibly-ghostly groomsmen in a Bavarian castle in 1895 sounded like my cup of tea; however, I was very pleasantly surprised at the story, the fantastic script, and the superb acting and staging of this delightful comedy of errors.

I can hardly begin to describe the story, as it simply must be seen in person to be fully grasped.  Its one of these very clever scripts where everything is not as it seems.  While the audience can easily follow what is really happening, the characters in the story most certainly cannot, and in many ways, this reminded me of a Shakespeare story.  Louisa, the daughter of a once-wealthy family is due to be married to a groom she has never met, as arranged by their parents and against her own wishes.  The groom-to-be himself, the Count Von Altenburg is, well, quite a handful.  He and his servant Osmar arrive in Louisa’s town and run into an old friend, the handsome and rebellious Hermann Von Starkenfaust. The three young men have no idea that a bizarre course of events lies in front of them, or how all their plans will go wrong at just about every turn, causing tremendous confusion and commotion at the castle of Louisa’s family.  They also have no idea that Louisa’s family includes some very colorful and amusing characters too, and it all makes for a great play.

Adelaide Leroy stars as Louisa, and very skillfully portrayed many different emotions and reactions in some very strange situations.  I loved her polished performance!  She delivered every line with the right amount of confusion, anger, worry or bemusement on her face, and espoused some deep feminist philosophy in an entertaining way.  Keenan Uriu was also impressive as Hermann, who unwittingly finds himself in the midst of more chaos and confusion than he could have imagined.  Strong performances were also contributed by Sam Magley as Osmar, Tyler Hicks as Louisa’s exasperated dad, the Baron Von Landkurz, and Taylor Voje as her pushy and worrisome aunt Ermingarde.

Two of my favorite characters in this play were the other aunt, Romilda, and Otto, the Count Von Altenburg who was the originally intended fiancé.  Becca Morgan played Romilda, a slightly nutty, very witty, middle-aged busy body who writes horror novels and fancies herself as a spiritual medium prone to visions and premonitions.  Morgan’s deadpan delivery of some of the shows most outrageous lines made her a scene stealer whenever her character was on stage.  Gavin Dunne-Marble played Otto, one of the most arrogant, condescending, pompous characters I’ve ever seen.  He had fantastic stage presence and awareness of his character, as well as great comic timing.

I picked out some excellent performances from cast members with small roles too.  I loved Minh Button as the owner of the town’s tavern, trying to respond to Otto’s demands for service.  I liked Jake Segner’s funny portrayal of the nervous and overly-talkative Cousin Adelric.  And Eric Bayne was excellent as Karl, a testosterone-laden tavern customer who decides not to put up with Otto’s posturing.

All the technical elements in this show came together extremely well.  Lighting cues, sound effects, and scene changes were all seamless.  The sets and the stage, though small, were decorated very artistically in each scene.  And a great deal of effort was put into the choreographing of a sword fighting scene between Otto and Karl; it was a long and exciting fight all over the tavern with lots of metal clanking and tangible tension between the two!

I congratulate director Paula Antonevich for taking the fledgling drama department at EHS and extracting such an exciting, amusing and artistic performance from her cast.  “The Spectre Bridegroom” was definitely worth seeing, and I encourage anyone who enjoys plays to go and see this excellent production!"