Raunchy, boisterous Robber Bridegroom enticingly edgy

The School of the Arts kicks off their Spring 2007 season with Vocal Miscellany's production of Alfred Uhry and Robert Waldman's The Robber Bridegroom. The musical is directed by School of the Arts professor Alan Case with sophomore musical theatre student Natalie Mack served as assistant director.

The Robber Bridegroom is a whimsical musical that is set in eighteenth century Mississippi. The show tells the story of Jamie Lockhart, a mischievous robber or "bandit of the woods" with a double identity. Clemment Musgrove is a rich plantation owner with a beautiful daughter Rosamund, whom he wishes to marry off, but Salome, his second wife would much rather have her stepdaughter killed than marry her off. There are also a slew of other odd characters, each with their own motive that intertwines in this hilarious and raunchy musical.

Junior Ben Kneeland plays the part of Jamie Lockhart. Kneeland's beautiful tenor voice charms the audience into accepting his character's dubious ways. His character serenades, warm the heart and then steal the clothes right off anyone's back. Senior Marissa Mulder shines as Rosamond Musgrove. Mulder, who in past musical productions has played an array of odd characters, manages to yet again transform herself into the ingénue of this story. Her beautifully airy mezzo soprano voice perfectly compliments the famed physical beauty of her character, especially in her performance of the song "Rosamund's Dream".

Each character and ensemble member puts their own comedic stamp on the show. Notable performances include freshman Chris Blasting as Big Harp, who is literally a talking head in a trunk, sophomore Liz Hoffman as the Raven, a pesky little black bird who talks, sings, will peck anyone and always warns passers -by to "turn back my bonnie, turn away home." Freshman Marc Cataldi plays Goat, a boy who has the intelligence of the animal.

Junior Julie Thiry delivers what is perhaps the best performance in the show as Salome, the second wife Clemment Musgrove, played by junior Rob Line. Salome is a drunken, money-hungry, sexually-crazed woman. Her grandiose gowns imply the proper upbringing of a southern bell and her gaudy jewelry implies the proper handling of her husband's money. When Salome isn't trying to get into another man's pants, she's somehow trying to rid herself of her stepdaughter, all while maintaining a perfect level of intoxication. With a bottle in one hand and the grimace of a mad woman, Thiry belts out her shining number, "The Pricklepear Bloom," with a perfect southern twang and enough attitude to make the audience hate how much they love her.

The Robber Bridegroom is a raunchy, crude and vivacious musical comedy filled with a crazy, unpredictable yet lovable cast of characters, punctuated by a square dance wherever one is possible. It's a rare blend of bluegrass and Broadway music with lyrics sung by a talented cast and music played by an onstage country-esque string band. The Robber Bridegroom will be performed in the Blackbox Theatre Thursday Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., Friday Jan. 26 at 8 p.m., Saturday Jan. 27 at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday Jan. 28 at 2 p.m.. For tickets visit the Brodie Box Office at bbo.geneseo.edu.