THEATER | Foxy Tann’s “Beaverdance”: Solid holiday entertainment that leaves you with a fuzzy feeling (in a manner of speaking)

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Foxy Tann’s Beaverdance at Bedlam Theatre. The very notion is enough to arch eyebrows and curve lips in a wry smile. Before the audience takes their seats, they’ve already put Foxy Tann‘s provocative proclivities together with Bedlam Theatre’s penchant for the wildly irreverent and have their mouths watering. Well, Beaverdance doesn’t quite fulfill such expectations. It doesn’t, however, fall short by a great deal. The production, despite missing a mark or two, is a hit. One generous helping of uproarious hilarity, Foxy Tann’s Beaverdance solidly entertains. Deft satirist Corrie Zoll provides the book with good lyrics by Dan Pinkerton and lively music by Marya Hart. Foxy Tann’s directing is capable.

beaverdance, playing through december 19 at bedlam theatre. for tickets ($12-$35) and information, see bedlamtheatre.org.

Here’s the premise. Testosterone-dependent fur trader Jacques Brainerd lands in Central Minnesota in the early 1800s and finds himself in love with Native American goddess Ojibwe, who just happens to be particularly devoted to a certain buck-toothed, flat-tail, dam-building critter. You take it from there.

The cast, led by gifted actors Laura Leffler-McCabe, Bedlam co-founder John Bueche, Scotty Reynolds, Tom Lloyd, and Zoll, is splendid. Solidly supporting are Alberta Mirais, Heidi Arneson, Carly Wicks, Cody Stewart, Ben Egerman, and Kitten Stoeckeler. Mirais gives a clinic in chorus work, her dancing precise, gestures and facial expressions smoothly animated. She works with a world of chops, making a tough job look easy.

Music director and pianist Ian Boswell does a fine job. Zoll is a talented writer. However, he doesn’t bring the story home. Beaverdance lacks an arc. Foxy Tann earns her paycheck as the director, but doesn’t do anything much worth writing home about. She sustains a crisp pace and handles a large cast well—not easy to do—but punches up too many sight gags and, aside from timing Leffler-McCabe’s sure-handed deadpan, doesn’t go much for subtlety. Halfway through the second act, the show segues into a revue, then comes to an engaging close.

The positives outweigh the negatives. Added to which, this is dinner theater. Let it not be said Bedlam Theatre doesn’t know how to throw down a feed. Good grub and an excellent wait staff, headed by one adroitly hands-on house manager who goes by Telsche (sounds like Tulsha). You can get the whole package or opt for just the stage show. Either way, you win.

This event is featured in the Daily Planet’s complete guide to holiday theater. Throughout the holiday season, the guide will be updated with links to new Daily Planet reviews—so you know who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.