Review: ‘Dumas’ Camille’

  • Jeremy Beck and Rebecca Brinkley are shadowed by Alex Carr and Bridget Beirne in the Peterborough Player’s Dumas’ Camille. Photo by Eric Rothhaus

  • Dumas' Camille, 2019 -- Peterborough Players -- Rebecca Brinkley, Jeremy Beck, Bridget Beirne, Alex Carr Photo by Eric Rothhaus—

  • Rebecca Brinkley and Jeremy Beck, bottom, Gus Kaikkonen, center, and Bridget Beirne and Alex Carr, top, in the Peterborough Players’ production of Dumas’ Camille. Photo by Eric Rothhaus

In the Reviewer’s Chair
Published: 8/14/2019 9:13:56 PM

The Peterborough Players’ latest production, “Dumas’ Camille” examines where truth and memory meet and how a longing and grief of lost love can be transformed by art and how we really want to see the past and the people we loved.

The play opens in 1895 Paris, as an aging Alexandre Dumas walks into a rehearsal of Verdi’s “La Traviata” in search of the truth of his past. The famous opera was adapted from Dumas’ novel and play, “The Lady of the Camellias.”

As the rehearsal stops and starts the cast become enthralled with Dumas’ story as he unpacks his memories and regrets over the real-life love affair that inspired his novel and play. He begins by pointing out the contradictions between the opera and his play, but soon reveals the discrepancies between the play and the true story.

The Peterborough Players brings a stellar cast to this “play with music.”

Written and directed by a former artistic director of the Players and a MacDowell Fellow, Charles Morey, Dumas’ Camille tells the now-iconic love story while also reflecting on the nature of art and its creation as well as truth and memory.

As the elderly Dumas, current Players artistic director Gus Kaikkonen masterfully moves the story through narration of his past, but is most riveting when he says nothing and simply observes the opera cast embodying his memories and tell the story for him.

During the play, the past is often shadowed by the present as soprano Bridget Beirne and tenor Alex Carr soaringly and beautifully “rehearse” scenes and arias in tandem with the plot points of the play.

You may have never seen the opera “La Traviata” but you are certainly familiar with its music, which flows seamlessly in and out of the play. Beirne and Carr have the vocal chops for the music and are a delight to listen to, while also adding an emotional punch to intense scenes.

It’s fascinating and engaging to watch both the drama and the opera taking place at the same time. In fact, it’s hard to know where to look when watching this play, the cast is so strong and enthralling.

At the center are the young lovers Rebecca Brinkley and Jeremy Beck, as Marguerite and Armand, who will not just tug, but yank on your heartstrings and wrap you up in the whirlwind romance. You fall in love with them as they fall in love with each other.

Rounding out the cast is Kraig Swartz, Tom Frey, Lucy Zukaitis and Pedro Ka’awaloa, who also bring powerful performances to their dual roles, required of the play.

“Dumas’ Camille” opened Wednesday and runs through Aug. 25.

Showtimes are Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m. In addition, there is a 2 p.m. matinee on Tuesday, Aug. 20.

Tickets and more information can be found at www.peterboroughplayers.org, or by calling the Box Office at (603) 924-7585.


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