by Shirley Lorraine
Marriage musical on stage in Camarillo
Camarillo Skyway Playhouse is performing the award-winning musical, I Do! I Do!” through November 12. The play is based on the The Fourposter by Jan de Hartog. With book and lyrics are by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, the musical chronicles a span of 50 years of married life for Michael and Agnes Snow.
Almost an operetta, the play swiftly moves from the couple’s wedding in 1895 to a more comfortable 1945, providing insights into their struggles and their life’s highlights along the way. Many will identify with the portrayals familiar to couples of communication challenges, disloyalties and the search for identity both as individuals and as a twosome. Emotions run the gamut as the years pass, the children are born, grow up and eventually leave the nest.
Adam Womack and Lauren Rachel wear the Snow’s lives as though made for them. Both are accomplished singers and move easily through the time span. The two have chemistry together. Womack is thoroughly engaging, even when he, as Michael Snow, is being a pompous ass.
Their singing compliments each other consistently as they accent their story with a steady stream of songs. Many will recognize “My cup runneth over with love” and “When the kids get married”. Each makes the most of their occasions to solo. Womack is exuberant in “I love my wife” and does a little soft shoe later. Rachel pulls out the stops in “Flaming Agnes” and “What is a woman”. Each sing clearly and enunciates well so the lyrics can be understood. This is very much appreciated as it adds to the enjoyment considerably. Both actors are clearly relishing their roles and thus so does the audience.
Clever costuming and small adjustments to the décor of the one set bedroom brought the audience along on the Snow’s journey. Despite several lengthy pauses for scenery or costume changes, the play moves along swiftly. One glaring inconsistency however is the presence of Samsonite luggage in the opening sequence, occurring some fifteen years before the Samsonite company began. A small point perhaps, but noticeable.
There are commonalities between this production and the previous one of The Last Five Years” which piqued my interest. Both are performed by only two actors. Both feature a plethora of songs which pull the story along, many of them sounding pretty much the same in range and tone. Both plays chronicle years of married life although the presentation is treated differently and cover a different time span, one short and one lengthy. In both productions, the husband is a writer. While there are positive attributes to both productions, a selection with less in common might have been a stronger choice.
I Do! I Do! replaces the scheduled production of “Priscilla, Queen of the Desert” so perhaps costs were a consideration. In any case, the change provided Womack and Rachel an opportunity to show their talents. Dean Johnson directs this solid production featuring two fine actors.
I Do!, I Do! runs Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m., Sundays, 2 p.m. through November 12
Camarillo Skyway Playhouse
330 Skyway Drive, Camarillo
(805) 388-5716 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Adults $20, Students, seniors and military, $15, Under 12, $10