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January 25, 2011 > Theatre Review: 'I Do! I Do!'- An Artistic Delight

Theatre Review: 'I Do! I Do!'- An Artistic Delight

By Mekala Raman

Broadway West kicks off its fifteenth season with Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt's 1960s musical, I Do! I Do! Rachael Logsdon and Drew Campbell give moving performances in this two-person 'dramedy'; the theater's cozy, historic atmosphere serves as a perfect backdrop.

A retelling of "The Fourposter" by Jan de Hartog, I Do! I Do! follows spouses Michael and Agnes through 50 years of their matrimonial rollercoaster, beginning with day one in 1898. We quickly become acquainted with the anchor of the play-their fourposter bed-as it steals their wide-eyed innocence on the wedding night. Over the next decades we experience kids, infidelity, renewed faith, and the ups and downs of aging.

The play's often sobering scenes are playfully interspersed with light comedy and disputes are followed with sweet reconciliations. The story enjoys an ultimate happy ending, with the couple making it to 50 years.

Campbell's Michael is immediately comedic as he tries to impress his new bride. In preparing to raise a son, he finds a lively young boy in himself that never completely fades away. Campbell's physical comedy serves well in his number "A Well Known Fact" maintaining a boyish, immature cockiness-even including an Elvis-like swaying of the hips. However, his transformation into the disgruntled "Father of the Bride" is thorough, successfully portraying the overprotective father who just wants his little girl back, but realizes that he and his wife will soon be sharing an empty nest.

Logsdon's young and innocent Agnes works, but she really shines as the independent, saucy mother-of-two who struggles with an often inattentive husband and an elusive sense of identity. In giving a 21st century edge to the housewife, Logsdon emphasizes the progressiveness that the play brought even in its inception over forty years ago. The complexity of her character peaks in "What is a Woman?" The song itself spans the range of her voice, and the confusion and thirst to prove herself as an individual are evident in her portrayal. Logsdon delivers her line, "I don't want to die behind a stove!" with a strength that conveys Agnes' dissatisfaction in having played the traditional submissive role as a wife.

The pair captures the audience with their rendition of the popular duet "My Cup Runneth Over". Their delivery of the sweet melody is charming and they are convincing in their open and unending love.

Accompanist Bob Moss plays wonderfully and is really a third character as he is set far upstage behind a sheer curtain, ever-present through Micheal and Agnes' 50 years of trials and tribulations. Through Moss, Harvey Schmidt's music gives life to the couple's story with dramatic, quirky, and upbeat moments throughout the score.

For a play riding on the shoulders of only two actors, the set and props also take a prominent role. The fourposter, designed by Steve Charlton and Greg Courville, serves its purpose well; dominant, but simple, it remains a centerpiece without distracting from the actors' performances. Costume Designers Logsdon and Paula Chenoweth mark the passing of the decades with Agnes' chronological spectrum of clothing from hat to shoe. Becky Denevan's props, including a list (or scroll) of complaints the couple have about each other, are cheeky and show great attention to detail. Choreographer Joey Montes has done a wonderful job of giving his actors adequate movement in the confined stage area.

This rendition of I Do! I Do! starts off slow and innocent, but once the couple starts having some meaty problems, Campbell and Logsdon play very well off each other.

Though appropriate for all ages, the plot lends itself to more mature audiences who can appreciate the overall message of the play. Enjoy this timeless tale of a husband and wife who stay together and are there for each other through thick and thin.

I Do! I Do!
Through February 19
8 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays
Broadway West Theatre
4000 B St., Fremont
(510) 683-9218
www.broadwaywest.org

Three Sunday matinees: Jan 30, Feb 6 and 13
Jan 30 and Feb 6 performances begin with a continental brunch (included in price of ticket) at 12:15 pm, and the show begins at 1 pm.
The Feb 13 performance starts at 1 pm with theme-based refreshments during intermission (included in price of ticket).
$23 general; $18 for Students, Seniors and TBA members.
Thursday, Jan 27, Feb 10 and 17 performances are $15 for everyone
Bargain Thursday Feb 3 - all tickets $10.
Sunday performances and Opening night are $23 for everyone. All ticket prices include refreshments.

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