Seven Brides for Seven Brothers

Rated 3.0 There’re these seven brothers living in Oregon’s backwoods who are hankerin’ for wives to cook and clean, and maybe even give ’em some sweet lovin’ on the side. These seven slovenly siblings can’t compete against the more sophisticated 1850s townsmen for the few available girls, so what do they do? They simply kidnap seven fine fillies and haul them up the mountainside.Now, how do these kidnapees react? Why, the only things these desperate gals want to be are June brides, so who cares who these guys are! Kidnappers, schmidnappers—these guys are real hunks! And they’re single! Besides, these bad boys are much more exciting than those dull town guys.

Dr. Drew would say these courting methods are recipes for love disasters. But in musical theater, they’re simply reasons to break out in song, and eventually have a happy-ever-after ending. And in the Runaway Stage Productions’ Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, that’s exactly what we get—an enthusiastic, energetic old-fashioned musical that ties up all loose ends into matrimonial knots.

Yes, the story is corny. And the comedy’s broad. And the sets are simple plywood cutouts. And some performances are better than others. But this winning cast puts out so much zip and zest that you can’t help but be kidnapped by their charm.

The star of the show is Rodger McDonald as oldest brother Adam—his powerful voice and confidence poise bring a real professional feel to this production. He’s helped by an engaging Karen Day as the strong, sympathetic Millie who civilizes the rest of the brothers in the art of manners and flirtation.

The brothers are a charming rollikin’, rollin’ bunch, tumbling and dancing about with glee. All emote actual giddiness, though the only one in the true spotlight is the endearing youngest brother Gideon, played by James Booth with just the right “aw, shucks” giddiness. The gaggle of girls gets less exposure, so it comes across as an ensemble rather than individuals. They also have the weakest choreography as a group, bordering on bad.

This is a great show to introduce young audiences to the theater. Not little kids, mind you, but pre-teens and teens. There’s enough rough-and-tumble, goofy hijinks sprinkled in with the dash of romance to keep both genders interested, there’s nonstop singing and dancing, and most of all, they can relate to the cast, half who are either local high-school or college-age students.

But in the end, this simple, yet spirited show is for all musical aficionados who want their productions old-school and full of fun. But you best hurry on down—this weekend is the last in the production run.