by SARAH PETREA SCHULTZ
I am not married. I have never been married. And yet I am still obsessed with Bucket Brigade Theater’s ‘Til Death: A Marriage Musical. When my friend and I stepped through the heavy wooden doors of Art House North, we were greeted by a dapper young man. He welcomed us with elementary school-esque paper valentines and instructions- write down our favorite love songs, and arranger/accompanist Michael Pearce Donley would select a few to play at intermission. Speaking of which, intermission felt more like a cozy reception, complete with locally made cupcakes and coffee.
Bucket Brigade uses their space expertly. The action takes place in a mountain cabin. Although no walls divide the stage space, the blocking establishes exactly where each wall and door stands. Lighting takes our focus from one room to another and colors the mood for each scene. A strobe light punctuates two hilarious, madcap moments, which are choreographed with farce-like precision. The characters move in slow motion, beautifully illustrating the high stakes of these real life situations. Another brilliantly creative bit of staging introduced us to starry-eyed honeymooners Leslie (Damian Leverett) and Freddie (Anna Leverett). Before they arrived, Ethan (Jeremiah Gamble) and Olivia (Vanessa Gamble) were playing cards. They pause to watch Leslie and Freddie sing about their storybook millennial romance. The young couple moves into a dance break, shuffling in their feet in a faux tap dance. Olivia provides the sound effects with the deck of cards. It’s subtle, clever, and works perfectly.
‘Til Death: A Marriage Musical is a delightful 90 minute experience, beginning to end. Married or not, I urge you to find a Friday or Saturday night to visit Art House North this month. Call 612.547.9839 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.