by Andrew Juhl
Mount Vernon - A Year With Frog and Toad is a delightful family musical that can easily fall flat at the community theatre level. Not so much a linear story as a series of rolling set pieces, the musical requires a cast of energetic performers and a creative production staff. Thankfully, the Mount Vernon-Lisbon Community Theatre has both.
More than any other thing, what sells MVLCT’s production this show is the enthusiasm of its cast. You can tell they’re having a great time, and their enjoyment is infectious.
And though the dialogue, songs, and morals are designed for children to consume and understand, the show is no less enjoyable for adults. There exists enough clever wordplay and you’ll-get-it-when-you’re-older themes (not jokes, but themes) that the adults in the audience often end up laughing harder, louder, and longer than the children.
A true ensemble piece if ever there was such a thing, no one actor or actress deserves to be singled out above the rest. Each and every performer brought something unique and wonderful to the evening. From Randy Dotson’s terribly large performance as a “Large & Terrible Frog” to Mary Morgan-Blacharski’s unerringly upbeat “Mouse” to Braden Rood’s hilariously exuberant “Snail” to Traci Rezabek’s unexpectedly touching “Young Frog” to … well, pretty much everything Kim Benesh did. And, of course, there was Frog (Steve Rezabek) and Toad (Jay Gunn), who were fun and charming throughout.
Directors Laura Werkman and Damon Cole did a fabulous job bringing this warm, pleasant comedy about friendship and life to the stage. If you have children—and even if you don’t—seeing MVLCT’s production of A Year With Frog and Toad this weekend will not be a waste of your time or money. Two more performances remaining - tonight at 7:00 pm and tomorrow at 2:00 pm. For information, go here.