Do you really live? Do you get out and embrace all that life has to offer? Or do you float from work to home and back to work again without stopping to smell the roses or tasting all the flavors of the world? The musical “Mame” may have been written more than 50 years ago but its message of enjoying life is just as relevant and just as important in 2013 as it was in 1956. You can still catch this timeless musical, and enjoy a lovely dinner, at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse through January 13.
“Mame” tells the story of Mame Dennis, an eccentric and lively woman that is given custody of her deceased brother's 10-year-old son, Patrick. The musical spans decades, as Mame introduces her new boy to her care-free lifestyle, as she so often exclaims, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.” Over the course of several years, Mame loses her fortune in the depression, marries a southern aristocrat with a huge plantation, and deals with her beloved Patrick becoming engaged to a less-than-ideal woman. Through it all, Mame retains her great sense of humor and zest for life, helping all that surround her do the same.
“Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.”
Directed by Kent Sugg, the Candlelight Dinner Playhouse production of “Mame” has some truly impressive performances, but does lack a bit of the glitz and glamour that a traditional musical such as this deserves. Parts of the production drag, and the choreography (Brian Burron) is sadly lacking. There are only a couple of large dance numbers in “Mame” and they really should be huge, show-stopping numbers. Unfortunately, they felt scaled down and tame. The production also suffers from some sound issues. Levels were off, and specifically in every single group number, diction was lost, and it was near impossible to decipher much of the lyrics.
However, the production is saved by the amazing performances and warmth emanated from the entire staff. Bren. Eyestone Burron is simply fantastic as Mame Dennis, bringing a great deal of compassion and humanity to the role. Her voice is lovely and her presence is commanding, which, when combined with her natural warmth, makes her the perfect version of such a beloved character.
There were a few other standouts in the large cast as well. Joel Sutliff as the older Patrick was impressive and commanding, as he lit up the stage for the entire second act. Alisha Winter was also endearing and lovely as Agnes Gooch, while Barb Reeves channeled her inner diva for a fantastic portrayal of Vera Charles.
What makes “Mame” and really every production at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse truly special is the extreme pleasure it is to visit this lovely dinner theatre. Candlelight is a destination evening, located about 45 minutes north of Denver, so they seem to understand just how important each and every patron really is. The service is quick, attentive and charming as the actors in the show serve your dinner and drinks. The food is actually quite good, and the desserts are fantastic (try the Salted Carmel Vanilla Crunch Cake. You can thank me later.) Truly, the atmosphere and entire environment make an evening at Candlelight Dinner Playhouse a charming escape from the daily grind.
Candlelight Dinner Playhouse Presents:
Playing through January 13, 2013
4747 Marketplace Drive
Johnstown, CO 80534