Polk County Itemizer-Observer
June 4, 2003

AUDIENCE - Wanda Davis

'Amadeus' is sumptuous feast for the senses

"Amadeus," written by Peter Shaffer, is a feast for the senses.

The sumptuous costuming, the splendid set, solid acting, the director's talent -- all work together to bring us one man's view of the most ingenious composer of all time: Wofgang Amadeus Mozart.

Set in Vienna in 1823, Antono Salieri begins to reminisce about his days as the court composer for Joseph II, the emperor of Austria, and the most famous composer in all of Vienna, a city os musicians.


"Amadeus runs through Saturday, June 21.

Tickets are available at the Pentacle Theatre ticket office inside the Book Bin, 450 Court St. N.E. in Salem.

Hours are noon to 5 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday.

TIckets are also available a half hour before each performance.

More information is available by calling 503-485-4300.

He narrates the story taking us back to 1781 and beyond to tell of his life and that of the brash, young newcomer Mozart, who invades his world.

Salieri is overcome with jealousy...(over) this vulgar upstart...At the same time, he is swept away by the music that pours forth from Mozart -- a talent obviously given by God himself.

Salieri, believing he had made a pact with God when was very young, is astonished to find that the talent he thought he had bargained for is flourishing in another so unworthy.

His bargain seems to have become a great cosmic joke as he finds he has the gift of appreciation of the beauty of Mozart's music but not the talent to write such magical compositions.

He devises a plan to bring the downfall of Mozart while eevating himself to lasting fame.

Unfortunately for Salieri, his plan works in ways he couldn't have imagined, bringing us to a deliciouly ironic ending.

Directed masterfully by Larry Roach, long-time Pentacle denzen, he introduces life in the 18th century to Pentacle's little stage.

He, with Assistant Director Nancy Moen, brings out the dark themes of envy, malevolence and death.

As Salieri, Randy Bowser exquisitely plays a man driven by a desire to be great but facing his own mediocrity. He almost magically transforms from an old man at the beginning of the play to one of about 30 and back again.

This gifted actor delivers the vast majority of the play's lines, flawlessly in both execution and emotion. I must remark that this is the first time I've seen Bowser without his beard -- no at all an unpleasant experience.

Cast as Mozart himself is William Lundeen. Wth manic laughter, he navigates the eccentricities of court life, oblivious to the politics of it all.

He truly became Mozart and had audience members in tears of both joy and sorrow.

Brittany Bilyeu, the only woman in the show and currently a student at McNary High School, plays the beautiful Constanze.

Beloved of Mozart, she steals her scenes with grace. She is vividly expressive and sparkles like a gem.

Tim Smith is Emperor Joseph II. His performance is superb and conveys the sometimes frivolous and mercurial nature of the monarchy.

Rounding out the cast are Ken Hermens, Jeff Baer, and Joey Johnson.

Hermens as Salieri's valet and Count Orsini-Rosenberg, is praiseworthy as usual.

Baer was the disapproving Von Strack and Johnson played the dour Baron Gottfried van Swieten. All actors with the exception of Bowser played multiple roles.

The stage was just awesome. Tony Zandol -- hats off to you. The clean lines but opulent appearance allowed for different locations without elaborate scene changes, a hallmark of Pentacle productions.

The sound was an integral part of the show. Unobtrusive but loud enough to be heard, it struck the perfect balance.

Susan Schoaps and her band of intrepid costumers have taken on a considerable task and hit one out of the park in this production. The period costumes were inspired.

However, Ken Hermens' black wig was the only drawback I saw. A bit of a distraction, I couldn't quite get past the deranged Shirley Temple look of it.