Sweet Revenge (or No Mother to Guide Her)

If asked to imagine a time machine, one would most likely conjure the image of some kind of futuristic spacecraft. Few would picture a stationary barge docked at Harriet Island on the Mississippi River. And yet, audiences boarding the Minnesota Centennial Showboat tend to feel as though they've crossed a portal into a bygone age. Operated by the University of Minnesota, the Showboat recalls a period when river cruising vessels kept passengers entertained with vaudevillian talents. Energetically arranged and breathlessly paced, productions convey the same exuberant, anything-goes spirit of the period. Lovers swoon with heartsick declarations, dastardly villains hatch diabolical schemes, and zany musical interludes — known as olios, an archaic convention for using short routines to take a break from the story — keep the energy from drifting. All such attributes will be copiously supplied by this summer's production of Sweet Revenge (or No Mother to Guide Her). Performed by the Showboat Players, the work by playwright Lillian Mortimer is an artifact of unhinged melodrama relating the precarious tale of two devoted lovers striving to escape the treacherous temptations of New York City. With Peter Moore handling the direction and Minnesota Opera veteran Vern Sutton overseeing the olios, the Centennial Showboat continues to be the time-traveling pleasure cruise of the summer. (Photo by Michal Daniel)
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: June 13. Continues through Aug. 24, 2013

 
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