By Maria D’Anselmi
Unfortunately, my thoughts on senior Brian Ahern’s performance as Voltaire in the Mainstage “Candide” were accidentally omitted from my review of the production. That was my mistake, and without further ado, I will discuss Ahern’s portrayal of the author and narrator of the Mainstage operetta.
Many actors who tackle this role read from a book because of the sheer volume of memorization it requires. Ahern, however, effortlessly commented, quipped and clarified “Candide” entirely from memory without skipping a single beat.
It is easy for a narrator who has such hilarious and witty lines to steal the show. Ahern provided support for the actors without upstaging them, and was a friend to audience members without distracting them. He remained aloof, but also so engaging that when he and his excellent wig were absent, the audience felt the loss.
Most of all, Voltaire brought the loftiness of the show down to a level that the viewers could relate to. As a character who wrote the play, he contributed a new humor that made the audience crave his company.
The cohesiveness of “Candide” has Ahern to thank. Subtlety is key and whether it was his cheeky wisecracks or the song he sang, Voltaire stole the show in the best way a narrator can: with quiet aplomb.