The disappointment apparent Saturday night at the FC Campus Theatre had nothing to do with the performance by the cast of "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" currently engaged in a two-week run; it had to do with attendance.
Only a half full theatre enjoyed a more than adequate presentation of a challenging play.
Set in pre-WW II Scotland, the story explores the moral and psychological struggles of Jean Brodie, a teacher at a school in Edinburgh.
An outrageously free-spirited woman, Brodie is judged an insufferable liberal by her more staid and proper peers.
This flamboyant character is *played forcefully by Tia Odiam -who showed an overwhelming stage presence in each of her appearances before the audience.
Although a bit nervous in the first few scenes, Odiam settled into her role with a mature performance that belied her eighteen years.
Ron Dickenson, playing Gordon Lowther, showed a strong commitment to. his character who, in contrast to Brodie, portrayed -the self-effacing music teacher at the school.He manages to involve himself in a romance with Brodie.
Dickenson delivers one of the :plays' high points when, tired of .being overshadowed by Brodie's .axe-brandishing dominance,he makes a dramatic assertion of his traditional world view, and he announces the end of their affair.
James Breslin's portrayal of the total archetypal .artist.philosopher,Teddy Lloyd, appeared to be the most conservative performance Saturday night. This doesn't imply that Breslin underplayed his character by any means: He didn't. Rather, it appeared that the remaining characters -- even the best of them -- seemed a bit overdrawn.
Breslin's work had a grace and sense of nuance that many others lacked. Wherever the blame for this may lie, however, it didn't mar the play seriously.
Sandy, played by Megan Cherry turned in a very honest performance as the child-woman who finds herself an unwitting substitute lover for Brodie in Teddy Lloyd's heart. Her smooth transition from frightened child to scorned woman, and back again was convincing; a welldeveloped character that iced the play's denouement.
Special mention should also be made of the Brodie girls: Juanita Collins, Connie McKenzie and Lynn Callen whose work contributed immeasurably to the play's funnier scenes.
Tom Blank's direction was well thought out and natural as he provided two fast paced and enjoyable hours of entertainment.
The sets were the usual Todd Glen tour de force; very effective and provocative. One last mention should also be made of an old classmate, Sam Cambell, whose dialect work on the show helped the cast provide a consistent and acceptable illusion of the Scottish setting.
There is really very little to criticize in FC's production of "Brodie". In fact, it's earned a full house every night. Remaining performances will be staged at 8 pm in the Campus Theatre from Wed. Nov. 4, through Fri. Nov. 6 and on Sat Nov. 7 at 5:30 pm.