Drama Aside, Plenty of Gospel Music in Theatre’s Latest

Smoke… to run through March 16

Oh, come to the church in the wildwood,
Come to the church in the dale,
No spot is so dear to my childhood,
As the little brown church in the dale.
How sweet on a clear Sunday morning,
To listen to the clear ringing bells,
Its tones so sweetly are calling,
Oh come to the church in the dale.
— “The Church in the Wildwood”

By Dan Hagen
NP Theatre Critic

Photo by Keith Stewart Rev. Mervin Oglethrope, played by Gregory Matzker, clenches the pulpit after considering to allow Dennis Sanders a go.

Photo by Keith Stewart
Rev. Mervin Oglethrope, played by Gregory Matzker, clenches the pulpit after considering to allow Dennis Sanders a go.

The audience members chatted about how much it reminded them of their childhood church.

David Scobbie’s set for “Smoke on the Mountain” at the Little Theatre is all muted, weathered country-church browns — pews, pulpit, old rugged cross — against a yellow background. With a quilt to one side and the impression of a blue, green and yellow stained glass window above, it’s a fit setting for people whose Christian beliefs are as unadorned as the bare light bulb that hangs overhead.

Only two cell phones glowed in the crowd prior to the show, testimony, no doubt, to the venerability of the audience. And none at all were shining after the toe-tapping tribute to bluegrass gospel got underway.

This kind of show is not my dish of tea. I can go for years without hearing a gospel song and not miss it. But the winsomeness won me over, being delivered with professionalism by director Don Bailey and his cast of seven actor-musicians.     Login or Subscribe to read the rest of this story.

Comments are closed.