The traveling Infinity Theatre Company has set itself quite the act to follow, beginning its run on stage with the longest-running musical ever, The Fantasticks, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. Like the unstoppable train that is two children told no, the show succeeds so well that the new company seems fated to a long run.
The musical is a fanciful telling of the fate of two lovers separated by a wall erected by two rival fathers. If you know Romeo and Juliet — or A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Shakespeare did love to steal plots) — you’re familiar with the setup.
Twists enter in the truth that the fathers are not actually rivals. They want their children to marry, and they agree that the easiest way to make children want to do something is to completely forbid them to do it. Having recently reached the age of consent, I can confirm that this is true.
Only Act One deals with their initial romance. Act Two depicts the consequences of such a dreamy coupling.
With its veteran actors, the show is a wonder to behold. Of note are lovers Matt and Luisa (company founders Anna Roberts Ostroff, who grew up in Annapolis, and Alan Ostroff), who are married in real-life. Robin Cannon, in the role of the Mute, steals every scene she’s in. Her pantomime is at once emotional and hysterical.
For much of the show, the full eight-player cast is on stage, which is a bit of detraction from the intensely personal moments Matt and Luisa share.
The set, despite being only a few platforms, fills the entire stage, and contributes to the cramped feel, for the show wants more space than the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis gives it.
The small orchestra of harp and piano support the play’s beautiful songs, most memorably “Try to Remember.”
Mild begrudging behind, The Fantasticks at Children’s Theatre is a great performance. The Infinity Theatre Company delivers a fine new option for theater to Chesapeake Country. For their next visit, this traveling company will need bigger space.
Read more about the new company at www.bayweekly.com/year10/issue_30/lead_2.html.
Director: Tina Marie Casamento. Pianist: David Libby. Harpist: April Stace Vega. Featuring Lawrence K. Cantor as Henry; Darron Cardosa as Mortimer; Gary Leimkuhler as Hucklebee; Anthony Morelli as Bellomy; and Michael Padgett as El Gallo.
Playing 8pm Aug. 5 and 6; 2pm and 8pm Aug. 7; at Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, 1661 Bay Head Rd., Annapolis. $35 w/discounts: 410-757-2281; www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org