Review: The Robber Bridegroom

The Robber Bridegroom

Who’s got two faces and two thumbs? This guy.

Who’s got two faces and two thumbs? This guy.

Photo courtesy of Green Valley Theatre

8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, $18.
Green Valley Theatre, 3823 V Street. Through August 27.
Rated 3.0

The cast of Green Valley Theatre’s The Robber Bridegroom may be the hardest-working group of people in local theater. The musical is a non-stop, all-singing, all-dancing, knee-slapping bluegrass fairy tale, led by the two-faced title character; the kindhearted, generous Jamie Lockhart by day and the infamous Bandit of the Woods by night.

Rick Eldredge is tall and comely and it’s easy to see how the gullible would be swayed by either of his characters’ two faces.

Jamie befriends the richest plantation owner in the country, Clement Musgrove (Michael O’Sullivan), who wants him to marry his daughter Rosamund (Lauren Ettensohn), a libidinous woman who has fallen, instead, for the robber, unaware he is really the nice guy her father has picked out for her.

The plot of this frenetic musical is convoluted, but it has a great cast of characters, including Musgrove’s wife the evil Salome (Stephanie Hodgson) who is plotting to kill Rosamund, and brothers Big Harp (Kevin Borcz) and Little Harp (Carsen Van der Linden), the latter being a disembodied head his brother carries around in a box. The Harp brothers also have a great bird, operated by Ryan Gerberding.

Alfred Uhry wrote the book and lyrics for this 18th century Mississippi story, and it is based on the 1942 book by Eudora Welty. Robert Waldman composed the music. The Green Valley production is directed by Christopher Cook, who is also credited with costume, set and puppet design. While the music is largely lively and forgettable, Rosamund’s gentle “Sleepy Man” is a beautiful love song.