ONCE ON THIS ISLAND is a charming little musical with an infectious Caribbean beat. The calypso infused story is a magical folk tale about gods and humans and the trouble they wreak. At the heart of the Ahrens/Flaherty musical is an enchanting young girl (Kira Cowan) who learns about love and the cruel world. Just beneath the lilting melodies and whimsical lyrics lies a serious lesson about the evils of colonialism. Blue Spruce Theatre’s clever production (running through Oct. 24th) plays up the inventive nature of the piece with ingenious double casting (which works via impressive acting and Lindsay Hurley’s distinctive headwear).
Directors Jesse Strachman and Jennifer Condon manage to capture pure air in their light, breezy production and Condon’s hip, syncopated choreography amuses with every turn. Dan Rodriguez’s combo infuses the music with sweet island spirit. (If you’re not swaying to the Afro-Cuban beat of the drums, your heart just isn’t in the right place.)
What a cast Blue Spruce has assembled! Each and every performer brings a sense of joy and wonderment to the piece….and first rate vocals as well. Kendra Alati adds her gorgeous, soaring soprano to the mix. Kira Cowan adds remarkable footwork. Abigail Cordell adds warmth. Kaedon Gray adds humor. David Lucey adds menace. Alaina Fragoso adds style. David Carney adds drama and Alexa Niziak is just plain adorable as Little Ti Moune.