Peter Shaffer Amadeus by Peter Shaffer

Dates and Venue 31March - 23 April 2011, Thu-Sat @8pm (Sun matinees at 2pm) | The Bernie Legge, New Westminster

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Vagabond Players in their 74th Season and 332nd production have finally come up with an extraordinarily excellent production under the direction of Lou Lou Leroux and starring Alex McMorran as Antonio Salieri.

Shaffer in his approach to his play makes Salieri narrate his relationship with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. He believes that Mozart's music is divine and wishes he was himself as good a musician as Mozart so that he can praise the Lord through composing.

But he can't understand why God favored Mozart, whom he considers vulgar childish, arrogant, annoying yet brilliant all at once. Salierii tells the audience that his envy has made him an enemy of God whose greatness was evident in Mozart, and he sets out to take revenge on him.

McMorran as Salieri acted his part well, but he has to practice on his voice projection more. In a small venue like the Bernie Legge, if you talk too loud, it gets a bit irritating, and if your voice is too low, you get to be inaudible. I was sitting at the back and I missed a few important lines because McMorran didn't project enough.

Christopher Fofonoff (Mozart) fit the role to the T. He giggled, acted ridiculously, and did all the vulgar childish stuff which Salieri hated about him. I also enjoyed the acting of Leala Selina (Constanze), Mozart's wife. She felt comfortable with her lines and her rapport with Fofonoff was simply marvelous to the point of perfection. Michael Wild (Joseph II) played his role quite well as the Austrian emperor who liked Mozart. I liked the way he'd take out his handkerchief to wipe his hand everytime Mozart slobbered over it.

This play will surely be nominated for the Jessies. When you have a good play by an excellent playwright like Shaffer, a director who knows what she's doing, and actors who are well-prepared with their lines, you're sure to have a winner. In an almost full house in last Sunday's matinee (April 10), the audience stood in ovation showing their delight for a superb production.

Congratulations to the supporting actors, to the production staff, especially to set and light designer Keita Selina. for a job well done.

© 2011 Ed Farolan