By Heather Milo
Acorn Staff Writer
 The Vagabond Players’ "Two by Two" is a highly entertaining and giddy romp through the story of Noah
and the Ark. Selected in celebration of Richard Rodgers’ centennial, "Two by Two," will be performed
through November 24. The production is directed by Paul Marquie with musical direction by Nancy Monson,
and is produced by Jackie Solway.

 The set is done in soft colors, like something out of a children’s book, and scenic artist Gerry Stone opens
the play with a sprawling sky and a door frame. Set designer Tom Murry’s skillfully done ark is built by the
cast before the audience’s eyes. Sound operator Judy Marquie works with computer/sound consultant Ralph
Riganti to highlight the show, from thunder for God’s voice down to the clucking of chickens.

 Costumes by Ida Tambe are earthy colors anchored by brilliantly deep tones. Tambe also does a great job
contrasting character Goldie’s wardrobe with the rest of the cast’s.

 In the show, a mix of family dynamics abound as each member wrestles with his faith and the earth-
shattering event of the great flood. Noah and his sons must embark the ark with their wives, only youngest
son Japheth is not married and the family must find him a wife.

 Veteran Vagabond Players’ director Don Pearlman takes his turn on the stage as a sage and cheerful Noah,
who struggles with his trust in God. Eleanor Brand plays Noah’s wife, the sensitive and witty Esther. Their
three sons are Shem (Steve Perren), Ham (Roscoe Gaines) and Japheth (Jim Harlow). Shem is sincere in his
role as the oldest child, and his tendency to lean toward the business end of things is the source of much
amusement. Ham is very funny in the middle child’s position, and manages to make a sympathetic character
out of a source of comic relief. Japheth is visibly confused and wrought by his conflicting feelings for both
God and for his brother Ham’s wife.

 Gail James plays Leah, Shem’s wife. She presents a marvelously shrewish contrast to the wife of Ham,
Rachel, played sweetly by Melora Hutton. Melanie McGuire plays Goldie, the wild card on the ark that gets
swept along under the pretext of becoming Japheth’s wife. Oozing charm, appeal and humor all at the same
time, McGuire pulls laughs while making it clear that Goldie has her own plans for the future.

 Shem, Leah and Ham do a great job skulking about in tandem in an early scene, questioning the validity of
Noah’s assertion that God spoke to him. The song "Put Him Away" is presented with sympathy, humor and
the crackle of opposing viewpoints.

 The songs are smart and simple. The music never overpowers the singers, and there is some very good vocal
talent. Japheth, Rachel, Shem and Esther particularly shine, along with Goldie. Japheth’s song "Something,
Somewhere" rings especially clear and honest, and is a blend of prayer and music.

 Clashing beliefs, sibling rivalry and romantic tension rock this boat in a humorous way. The story is
modified from the original for the sake of humor and unexpected plot twists. God steps in to make some
adjustments as Noah can’t work fast enough to get the ark constructed at age 600, so God brings him back to
the youthful age of 90, prompting the song "90 Again."

 ‘Two by Two’ is co-produced by The Backlot Theater located at 1408 East Thousand Oaks Blvd., Thousand
Oaks, across from Roxy’s Famous Deli. The theater is located in the Gold Coast Plaza at the back of the lot.

"Two by Two" will run at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2 p.m. on Sundays through November 24th.
Ticket prices are $14 (Adults) and $12 (Seniors/Students). Group sales are available. To reserve tickets or
request more information, call The Vagabond Players at (805) 987-6039.