So, you owe me. Yes, you, the reader of this review who will not have to endure the gastronomical atrocities that I, Christ-like, have suffered for thee. Before you start flipping pages or reviewing the table of contents, this is not a restaurant review. You are safely ensconced in the theater review you, presumably, meant to be reading. This review is of Brigadoon at the Jesters Dinner Theatre in Longmont, and thus it addresses both the “dinner” and the “theater” aspects of the experience. You’ll thank me later.
When I made my reservation to see Brigadoon at Jesters, I was asked if I wanted to attend just the show or if I also wanted to have dinner. The question took me aback because in all my years as a theatre critic I have never had a dinner theater offer the “show only” option. A slave to journalistic integrity and a firm believer that a night of dinner theater should rightly include dinner and theater, I opted for both.
Without getting elbow deep into the gory details, suffice it to say that — short of finding myself literally starving and with no other refuge during the initial furor of the zombie apocalypse — I will not be eating at Jesters Dinner Theatre again. Now, I’m no foodie. I am, in fact, one of the few people I know who truly enjoys Little Caesar’s pizza, if that helps you gauge the sophistication of my palate, so you know I’m not criticizing Jesters’ “food” from some Bourdain-inspired ivory tower. But seriously, how do you fuck up fried cheese sticks? The answer, it turns out, is that you microwave them.
Having survived dinner, if only barely, my companions and I turned our attention to Brigadoon.
Though the stage show has been around since 1947 and has spawned both television and film adaptations, including the popular 1954 movie version starring Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse, Brigadoon is a B-grade Broadwayer. Its story is simple, yet its plot becomes unnecessarily convoluted. It presents a set of rules that define its fictional universe then it disregards them completely in order to reach its sentimental denouement. It contains only one semi-famous, hummable tune, “Almost Like Being in Love.”
A great musical acts as a safety net for less-than-stellar performances. An average musical like Brigadoon requires exceptional performances (along with expert direction, costuming, lighting, etc.) in order to overcome its inherent shortcomings. In this case, the cast and crew at Jesters find themselves on par with the material and, thus, Brigadoon is a serviceable lark, neither horrible nor heroic. For the “show only” price, it’s worth it for anyone who adores the story or has never seen it and wants to expand his or her theatrical horizons. It is best, however, not to arrive with inflated expectations.
Brigadoon opens with two modern day Americans, Tommy (John Sosna) and Jeff (Kevin Gilliam), traipsing around Scotland on a hunting trip. The two men stumble upon the village of Brigadoon, a village that we soon learn (SPOILER ALERT) is stuck in time. Due to the omnipotence and seeming benevolence of God at the behest of a preacher worried that the wickedness of the outside world would infect the people of Brigadoon, the village has undergone a Star Trek-ian dimensional shift and now exists at right angles to the universe. For every day that passes in Brigadoon, 100 years pass for the remainder of the world, which means Brigadoon is only visible to the rest of us once every century.
As this isn’t ’Nam, there have to be rules, so no one from Brigadoon may leave the town lest it disappear forever. Luckily for Tommy, who has developed quite the crush on one Brigadooner (Brigadoonite?), Fiona (Hannah Denckla), an outsider may join the village if he loves someone in it. As Brigadoon’s one visible day moves along, convenient conflicts arise and are resolved, if somewhat ham-handedly.
Do you suppose that Tommy and Fiona live happily ever after? They might or mightn’t. You’ll have to find out for yourself, but unless you suffer from an acute case of culinary masochism, eat at home or at one of the many restaurants near Jesters on Longmont’s main drag, then head over for the show.
On the Bill
Brigadoon plays through Oct. 2 at Jesters Dinner Theatre, 224 Main St., Longmont. Tickets are $15 to $35. For tickets or information, call 303-682- 9980 or visit www.jesterstheatre.com.