Ridgefield Theater Barn’s ‘Smorgasbord!’ is a tasty dish of a show
Ridgefield Theater Barn, Ridgefield: Bradford Blake always knows just how to cook up fun and music with a heavy dash of creativity. To experience the Blake effect you just have to head to the Ridgefield Theater Barn to see his musical revue “Smorgasbord!” He wrote the music and the witty lyrics and directs the show; therefore, audiences get the full Blake treatment just the way he intended it. Each of his songs is turned into a humorous sketch featuring top of the line local talent.
Before the curtain opens, one can’t ignore how the proscenium stage has been framed with pots and pans, cookie sheets and utensils. As music director Charles Smith, bass player Charles Casimiro, and percussionist Robert Kogut enter the stage and become part of the action, they face the audience and bow. However, all three are decked out in chef hats and aprons. Right from the get-go, the scene is set. We know that a tasty treat has been cooked up for this show. As the title suggests, foods of all kinds are on the menu — well, make that the playbill.
Anya Caravella, Robert Geils, Tracey Marble and Zachary Theis make up the cast. Each member not only interacts with the others, but also gets his/her time in the spotlight. While the ensemble gathers for their morning coffee in the second song of the revue, they not only get the caffeine jitters, but they eventually run out of coffee.
Robert is the designated snob in the production. He’s very good at being consistently smug, especially in his solo “My Dear Mrs. Whitney-Smythe.” This number points out all the bad table manners of the hostess, which forces Robert to decline the invitation.
Zach who has great comedic timing and most entertaining facial expressions does a great job with his solo “What Did They Ever Do?” Actually, the song is very funny. This is a vegetarian who asks in song, what did a cow or deer, fish, bird, chicken or even a shrimp or lobster ever do to you? Each verse focuses on a different food and sacrificed creature from land, sky or sea. The lyrics are spot-on as is Theis’ performance.
The faux operatic lyrics are hilarious, but the voices of Anya, Robert, and Zach in this number remind the audience that these actors are superior singers. Anya studied classical voice in Milan and you know it as soon as she raises her voice. The harmony in ensemble numbers are also beautifully rendered. When the ensemble sings “Get Thee Behind,” which is a song about food sins performed in gospel style, you can see audience members clapping along or keeping the beat with their feet.
You have to wait until the second act to witness how Tracey Marble takes down the house with her comic version of “Oh, What a Kielbasa!” A vocalist of the first order, she like the others is a triple threat.
Blake’s flair for costumes and props also shines through with the ladies decked out in black and white, the gentlemen in tuxedos and all of above accented with add-ons or take-off accessories. All of this demonstrates Blake’s amazing creativity. In the last number “One Scoop,” the ensemble comes out singing about ice cream to the tune of “One” from “A Chorus Line.” While they each carry a white plastic ice-cream container at the conclusion of the number, those containers become very clever top hats.
There’s so much more to be discovered in this fun-filled tribute to food now at the Ridgefield Theater Barn through Feb. 29. It’s too delicious to miss. Box office: 203- 431-9850.
Joanne Greco Rochman is a founder and former member of the Connecticut Critics Circle and an active member in the American Theatre Critics Association. She welcomes comments. Contact: email@example.com.