Theatrical productions mounted in order to raise funds can be hit and miss affairs (I know, I’ve been in a few ‘misses’). It’s often understood that the show will be up for a few nights, money will be made for the company’s coffers (or some other worthy cause), and memories of the show disappear into the ether periphery.
Sometimes, though, a company sets the bar very high and exceeds all reasonable expectations for a fundraiser. Last weekend, Kaleidoscope Theatre’s production of “Amadeus” did just that. Ably directed by CTV’s Stephen Andrew, it took on a heavy challenge, with a cast composed largely of young people. The results revealed a deep bench of young talent in Victoria.
Roderick Glanville, Artistic Director of Kaleidoscope, played the central character of Antonio Salieri. Glanville displays a dangerous charisma, more a Colme Feore than the film’s F. Murray Abraham. His scene at the end of Act I demonstrated his range and intensity. It was an intense, yet refined, performance. More than that, as Glanville was surrounded on stage by so many of his theatrical charges — young students in Kaleidoscope’s program – he appeared as if some professor at Hogwarts’, guiding young theatrical wizards as they try out new spells and incantations.
Evidence of this legacy of theatrical wizardry was clear in the play’s two other leads: Pat Rundell as the titular Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Candace Woodland as his wife, Constanze Webber. Both Rundell and Woodland are alumni of the Kaleidoscope program. As many audience members were familiar with Thomas Hulce’s iconic performance as Amadeus in the film, Rundell had the unenviable task of carving out a new interpretation. No anxiety of influence was discernible, here. Rundell’s Mozart was at times fey, at other times petulant. He made believable Mozart’s genius that came wrapped in obscenity. Woodland as Constanze was deliciously charming, all giggles – wide-eyed but knowing. Woodland is one to watch on Canada’s theatrical stages.
The rest of the cast was uniformly strong, but Evan Roberts and Michael Bell as Venticelli 1 & 2 were superb. Spies to Salieri, each time they appeared on stage they were in a different state, at turns conspiratorial, charming and menacing. They displayed fine comic timing.
If this production of “Amadeus” is any indication, under the artistic guidance of Roderick Glanville, we can look forward to many more inspired productions from Kaleidoscope Theatre.
By Brent Schaus