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By Jessica Young

Ruddigore or The Witch’s Curse

La Sala de Puerto Rico

Nov. 7-8, 13-14, 8 p.m.; Nov. 9, 15, 2 p.m.

By Sir William S. Gilbert and Sir Arthur S. Sullivan

Andrew Sweet, Stage Director

Katherine Bryant, Vocal Director

Thomas Dawkins, Orchestra Director

If great voices, vibrant costumes, and an enchanting plot are all it takes for you to consider a show worthwhile, then Ruddigore (or The Witch’s Curse) is your show... and then some. The show itself was eye-candy. The blocking was perfect, with the set being used to its fullest potential. The acting was good, full of well-timed one-liners that kept the audience laughing throughout. And most important, it was obvious that the cast truly enjoyed what they were doing, which is a sure sign of a good show.

The show began with the traditional “God Save The Queen,” a reminder that about three hours of British humor is to follow. Afterwards, the orchestra played a beautiful tune, and the stage lit up. The ladies’ chorus, in coordinated dress, crooned to the audience, “Is anybody going to marry you today?” The theme of getting married, or perhaps not getting married, carried on throughout the show. Ruddigore’s plot concerns itself with the age-old troubles associated with love, ancient curses, and the undead.

The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players offered the audience -- in addition to the rich plot -- a great cast. The adored Rose Maybud (Caitlin J. Smythe G), sang in a crisp soprano voice, and worked well with the company. Sir Ruthven Murgatroyd, disguised as Robin Oakapple (David Daly), was somewhat reminiscent of Nathan Lane, and won over the audience with his stunning voice and convincing acting.

A persistent Rose Maybud toted around an etiquette book, and often read to the audience from it.

The smaller musical numbers were also quite nice, and the orchestra, albeit a little underrehearsed, played them well. Unfortunately, because of the lack of proper sound amplification, it was hard to fully understand the company’s words over the orchestra. This was true of the entire show.

Mad Margaret (Vanessa H. Quinlivan ’06), was extremely convincing as a mad woman, and treated the audience to lines such as, “They sing choruses in public that’s mad enough, I think.” It was a good thing, however, that the company sang in public, because it gave them a chance to showcase their talent. One number had a capella sections tucked in, another had amusing choreography. Particularly entertaining numbers came from Richard Dauntless (Percy S. Liang G), who loved Rose Maybud almost as much as he loved himself, as well as the wicked Sir Despard Murgatroyd, of Ruddigore (Johnathan Ichikawa), who committed a crime in the morning, and atoned for it in the afternoon.

The second act began with the orchestra playing a now-familiar tune, and a new set. Appearing as ghosts, the men’s chorus was absolutely fantastic at building up suspense while keeping humor in the picture. And Mad Margaret, returning with a man on her arm and never missing a beat, provided the audience with superb comic relief.

The company joined together for the final numbers, took their bows, and posed for publicity pictures. Smiling the whole time, it was yet again evident that they enjoyed presenting the show just as much as the audience enjoyed watching it. Ruddigore is a fantastic and memorable portrayal of a small town and its zany inhabitants.