Exit 7 Players, Ludlow, MA
through October 28, 2012
By Eric Johnson
Strong, solid, spirited. All words that aptly describe the title character of Aida as well as this production of the rock opera by Elton John and Tim Rice.
Director Kim Lynch and Musical Director Christina Climo have assembled and guided a wonderfully talented and dedicated ensemble cast of performers, all of whom possess the skills, talent and experience to make "Aida" a thoroughly entertaining evening of theatre. Choreography by Amy Bouchard is impressive, fluid and agile movement that compliments the plot and the music nicely and, as with all good choreography, looks effortless even though one knows better.
Chae-vonne Munroe (Aida), Ryan Slingerland (Radames) and Chris Willenbrock (Amneris) all bring stunning vocal ability and a completely believable chemistry to the characters they portray. The intensity that Munroe channels into Aida is almost disturbing at times, yet thrilling to watch. Slingerland portrays Radames internal battle of duty and conscience subtly yet most effectively. Willenbrock is a joy to observe as she deftly showcases the many facets and trials of Amneris. The remaining lead actors and ensemble do a fantastic job with pace and energy in this show, keeping it flowing throughout.
The multi-level set by Josiah Durham, Paul Hamel, and Ken Samonds is a very nice addition to the production. The artwork by Samonds goes a long way towards transporting the audience into Egypt in the time of the Pharaohs. Lighting design by Frank Croke is, as usual, a perfect compliment to set and scene. Costumes by Solvieg Pfluger and Moonyean Field integrate evenly into the overall aesthetics of this show.
With "Aida," Exit 7 once again proves that their reputation for high quality community theatre is both well deserved and hard earned. It is obvious that there was a lot of careful planning, inspired vision, and just plain hard work that led up to this enthusiastically received opening night performance.