Northumberland Echo

Follow Us On:

‘Smoke on the Mountain’

Posted on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 at 10:49 am

The Westmoreland Players’ current production, “Smoke on the Mountain” may cause some members of starchier denominations to regret the solemnity of their hymn books. The show is about a singing night in a 1938 Baptist church in North Carolina. The songs, if you can say it about Baptist music, rock.

The show is about the Sanders family singing group who come to Mt. Pleasant Baptist for their first appearance together in five years. Interspersed with the songs, the family’s five members give personal testimonials that are heartfelt but somehow end up going off the tracks. Mother Sanders’ parable of the junebug goes seriously awry when the junebug she has tethered to a string goes down the front of her dress. The bug rapidly goes from a metaphor for a soul tethered to Jesus to a bug meeting the sole of Mother Sander’s shoe.

For about two hours the cast sings gospel favorites ranging from “Rock of Ages” to “I’ll Fly Away,” as well as lesser known songs. By the end of the show, the audience was fully engaged in singing along with “Bringing in the Sheaves.”

The five cast members with singing parts are excellent, particularly young Andrew Magruder, a slight young man whose melodious baritone comes as a surprise. Rachel Beard’s signing of the songs for the hard of hearing – coupled with her facial expressions  – maintain a running comic undertone throughout the performance.

For the full article, pick up the latest Northumberland Echo 8/7/19

With fun music and comedic scenes, “Smoke on the Mountain” seems to have something for everyone.