My favorite play of all time is The Scarlet Pimpernel, so when I heard Murray Arts in the Park was putting it on at the Murray Park Ampitheatre, I jumped at the chance to cover it. The last showing was June 30, but the enthusiasm of the actors was contagious enough to raise excitement for the next production, The Wizard of Oz (July 28-30, Aug. 1-3).

As you probably know, The Scarlet Pimpernel takes place during the French Revolution. Sir Percival Blakeny, a wealthy British baronet, is horrified at the killings of innocents and becomes the heroic figure--the Pimpernel. Percy, along with a trusted group of fellow royals, dedicates his life to protect and save the innocent French aristocrats from the bloodthirty citizens of the Revolution--Robespierre and Chauvelin. In order to keep their rescue agendas hidden, Percy and his band of men act like fops who would never engage in any activity that would dirty their hands.

While abroad on one of his missions to France, Percy falls in love with the beautiful actress Marguerite St. Just, a reformed French revolutionist, who he marries. After being misinformed about details of her past involvement with the revolution, Percy turns a cold shoulder to her and converts his frustration in marriage into an intensity for saving innocent lives.

The Scarlet Pimpernel has an interesting storyline and complex characters, which makes the casting process very difficult. Percy is complicated and needs to have a boisterously loud personality while still seeming the masculine hero that he is--even as he plays his foppish alter-ego to dissuade others from discovering his identity as the Pimpernel. Cameron Boyle, who played Sir Percival, mastered all these charms that endear Percy to the audience, which responded with vivacious clapping and cat calls.

An interesting fact about the Murray Arts Program is that those involved in the productions are all volunteers. Those that take part are passionate about performing. No one gets paid for the hours and long days they practice for this community theatre, but their excitement and love for the Arts did not leave the audience wanting.

The costumes (especially the shoes and hats) were incredible, Marguerite sang like an angel, and Percy seduced the audience with his clever remarks and heroic ventures.

My advice: Bring a cushion since the bleachers are not mericful to your rear end, a jacket because it gets chilly at night, and tell your family and friends to come since it's an experience you will want to share. Most importantly, sit back and enjoy.