Brigadoon King’s Theatre

Written in 1947 by American duo Lerner and Lowe, who went on to write My Fair Lady, Brigadoon opened on Broadway the same year. There have been 2 film versions and countless performance of this romantic fantasy set in a Scotland few of us would recognise! Two American tourists are on a hunting trip in the Highlands when they become lost. They make their way to a village they can see in the mist, although strangely it is not marked on their map. The village is Brigadoon, which unbeknown to them, only appears for one day, every hundred years. Tommy Albright, played by Eddie McDowell and Jeff Douglas (Peter Tomassi) arrive in the village square in the midst of preparations for Jean Mackeith’s wedding to Charlie Cameron. Jean’s older sister Fiona is still waiting to fall in love with the right man, when in stumbles Tommy. The villagers are all dressed in tartan and the American pair think the villagers are dressed up for the fair and unaware they have stepped back 200 year in time.

Southern Light Opera tackle this with a huge cast. The principals all have lovely voices and particular mention must go to Colin Povey who plays Charlie Cameron. His tenor voice effortlessly delivered ‘I’ll go Home with Bonnie Jean’ and ‘Come to Me, Bend to Me’. Other familiar songs were ‘The Heather on the Hill’ and ‘Almost Like being in Love’ both sung by Tommy and Fiona. The principals’ voices were amplified and we could hear every word. However the chorus didn’t have the volume or impact that the large cast should have delivered. Jean (Donna Ewing) and Fiona (Kat Angus) sang well as did Judith Barron who plays Meg Brockie with spirit and humour. The story packs in a wedding (and they sing of another), a murder, a funeral, pipers, dancers, a chase scene; far too much to go into detail here.

Inevitably Tommy and Fiona fall in love and the Dominie explains to Tommy that none of the villagers can leave Brigadoon or the village will disappear for ever. However if a stranger loves someone from Brigadoon enough, they can stay in the village. Tommy is tempted to stay and marry Fiona but Jeff persuades him to return to New York. Four months later Tommy and Jeff are in a bar in New York awaiting the arrival of Tommy’s fiancée. (Peter Tomassi playing the drunk Jeff brilliantly). When she arrives, everything she says triggers a memory of Fiona and Brigadoon for Tommy and the memory scenes are well done. Tommy breaks off the engagement and returns to Scotland where as if by magic (pun intended) Brigadoon appears again and he is reunited with Fiona to live happily ever after.

The company produced an entertaining evening, with all the cheesiness we expect of Brigadoon.

Val Clark