Review: Freshman shines as star of musical performance ‘Carnival’

Samantha Middendorf, Entertainment Editor

With a nearly depressing plot, and at times slow-paced storyline, the tale of “Carnival” left much to be desired.

Despite the dull story, the actors that portrayed the members of the travelling carnival shone through their lazy lines.

In particular, Christina Peter, a freshman music major who portrayed the role of Lili, stood out in the ensemble.

Peter’s soaring vocal range and on-stage charisma took control of The Theatre in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Thursday evening.

With a voice that is reminiscent of the great Julie Andrews and her unmistakable charm, Peters made the story of  “Carnival” hard to hate.

The musical presented a cast of many underclassmen including Frank Monier as Marco, Kerry Takash as Gladys and Erin Takash as Gloria.  Although they are young, the performers still gave an impressive, memorable performance.

Along with the standout ensemble, came the members of the travelling carnival, which included puppeteers, Siamese twins, an acrobat, ballerina and an evil magician, who kept the musical moving in between dramatic scenes.

Whether they were singing and dancing or showing off their talents, the carnival crew kept the audience entertained.

The act of Lili and the puppets is endearing, but at times dull.  Nonetheless, the banter between the puppets, Carrot Top, Horrible Henry, Renaldo and Marguerite, was entertaining.

Behind the scenes of the carnival, the love triangle between Lili, Paul the puppeteer and Marco the magnificent magician took a front seat.

To be honest, this love story was lacking substance. 

Lili, an orphan who came to the carnival looking for a home, falls for Marco who’s bad attitude and playing ways are enough to run anyone with a good head on their shoulders away. Paul falls for Lili while she works for him, but is cruel to her nonetheless, which leads her to hate him, and even sing a song to express her hatred titled, “I Hate Him.”

In short, the love story is predictable and would be better if spiced up a bit. There was a lack of passion between the two leads.

While the story line leaves a bit to the imagination, the music and set design was impressive.

Even though it was Timothy Renner’s first musical at Eastern, he did not save the best for last.  The orchestra was seamless and created enjoyable, lighthearted background noise for the play.  Under the direction of Renner in the future, the music department is sure to succeed.

The bright and colorful set up of the tents for the carnival brought a pleasant effect to the stage presence of the play.  Along with the tents, the multi-colored lights that hung from the ceiling provided a pleasing ambiance to the carnival theme.

Students and community members who are free this weekend and looking to share a few light-hearted laughs, will not be disappointed by “Carnival.”

“Carnival” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again at 2 p.m. Sunday in The Theatre.  Admission is $5 for students, $10 for Eastern employees and seniors and $12 for the general audience.

Samantha Middendorf can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]