BOILING SPRINGS - It's the start of a journey into a strange new world when a man and a woman say "I Do, I Do."
Chronicling 50 years of marriage, "I Do, I Do" is Allenberry Playhouse's current attraction, with 1 p.m. matinees Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday and 7:30 p.m. performances Thursday and 8 p.m. performances Friday and Saturday through Oct. 29.
The musical adaptation of "The Fourposter," the Jones-Schmidt musical, which opened in 1966, is the antithesis of the big, lavish Broadway show with a cast of two, no chorus and a single set.
The set is the bedroom of Michael and Agnes Snow with a large, four-poster bed dominating the well-adorned bedroom. From their marriage in 1898 till they reluctantly leave their Philadelphia home in 1948, Michael and Agnes share many trials and tribulations during their marriage, which are charmingly told with humor and lots of appealing music.
With two baby grand pianos providing the accompaniment, the diverse score is one of the musical's greatest assets.
From the wedding night opening, "Goodnight," and the bouncing "When the Children Get Married," to the pensive "What Is a Woman?" and the beautiful ballad "My Cup Runneth Over With Love," the music in "I Do, I Do" spans lot of different marital moods.
Two Actors Equity performers comprise the cast. Amy Decker (who appeared at Allenberry a few years ago) plays Agnes, and Edward Juvier plays Michael. Both are in fine voice throughout this two-Act production with a running time of two and a quarter hours with one intermission.
Decker portrays Agnes as the Victorian wife, doing all of the housework and raising the two children till someone eventually pushes her to rebel and becomes "Flaming Agnes." That someone is hubby Michael with Juvier very funny as the male chauvinist novelist with a big ego and a tendency to endlessly boss his wife.
As the cycles of their marriage unfold, both Michael and Agnes age, with Michael noticeably looking older, till the final scene when both sit on stage at makeup tables in full view of the audience to apply the final makeup.
The book is somewhat weak and the two characters are not always finely or consistently drawn. One apparent flaw is how, one moment, Agnes can dramatically announce that she is leaving Michael and not coming back, only to have a complete - and too hasty - change-of-heart moments later after Michael utters a bit of sweet talk.
Still "I Do, I Do," which strikes a resonant chord for anyone who has been married, is a sweet and mostly honest view of the slings and arrows husbands and wives face trying to grow old together. Today's statistics, showing most couples not only don't grow old together but often divorce after a few years, support the argument that this is an outdated musical.
But Allenberry's top-notch production features fluid direction, a fine score, strong vocalists and even a little pillow that reminds Michael and Agnes that "God Is Love." Their 50-year musical journey is both heartfelt and nostalgic. And that type of entertainment never really becomes outdated.