Thursday, April 28, 2022

Super Tech Support Enhances Sound Theatre's "Gaslight"

Sound Theatre Company
Through May 14, 2022 (at 12th Avenue Arts)
Inspector Rough (Hisam Goueli, standing) and Bella (Kathy Hsieh, seated) observe an offstage moment. Rough has a mustache and wears a grey-green tweed suit with black bowtie. Behind him are a mix of picture frames, some without an image - and two brightly gas-lit sconces. Bella, clutching a handkerchief, has long black hair in an elegant bun, and wears a shiny turquoise Victorian grown. (photo by Nikeesha Gooding)

From the Victorian thriller novel to a play to a movie, Gaslight (originally titled Angel Street) is now on stage by Sound Theatre Company. If you didn’t know where the slang term for lying-and-making-you-think-you’re-crazy comes from, it stems from this classic tale.
Kathy Hsieh carries the main role of Mrs. Bella Manningham, who is treated as a child-woman by her husband (Johnny Patchamatla) as he causes her to believe that she is going mad like her mother did at an early age before dying young. In fact, the audience isn’t quite sure (unless you’ve seen the film) that she’s not mentally ill.

Friday, April 08, 2022

Feel-Good Spitfire Grill with Standout Cast

Sarah Garcia in The Spitfire Grill (Robert Wade)
The Spitfire Grill
through April 30, 2022 

The Spitfire Grill is a feel-good musical. It’s a little schmaltzy with heart-tuggy, yearning songs (think Judy Garland singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow only not quite that classical a song) but ultimately it’s also accessible and fun and ends on a note that you can walk out of the theater feeling satisfied at the journey.
It’s a natural for Taproot. They’ve done it before, in 2003, when it was newer. But it hasn’t lost its sweetness or appeal in ensuing years. A young woman, Percy (Sarah Garcia) who has nowhere to connect to after five years in prison has circled a tiny article about Gilead, Wisconsin, and gets on a bus to a place she hopes will be all that she dreamed. She’s guided to the Spitfire, where there’s a room to stay and a job helping out.
Of course, the curmudgeonly proprietor, Hannah (Pam Nolte) warms to Percy over time. Of course the townies (Effy played by Marlette Buchanan, Caleb played by Brian Pucheu, and the Sheriff played by Fune Tautala) are suspicious, but get used to Percy. Caleb’s wife Shelby (Kelly Karcher) comes to help at the Grill – against Caleb’s wishes – when Hannah trips and breaks her leg.
When Percy finds out Hannah’s been trying to sell the Grill for years, she comes up with a raffle where people can send $100 and an essay about why they should “win” the Grill. Somehow, her advertisement finds a viral audience and they’re flooded with raffle entries. The town itself even gets some recognition and tourists begin to come. Suddenly, this downtrodden little town is feeling spiffy. And there’s a small subplot mystery about Hannah’s son (played by Chip Wood).
It's a lovely cast. The newcomer, Sarah Garcia, to our fair city makes quite a terrific impression. There’s something so naturally appealing in her as an actress (that can’t be taught) that draws your attention. Since she’s on stage almost the whole time, she “makes” the play. And when she and Karcher sing, their voices blend beautifully.
So… go and have a good time, especially if you really need a break from the horrid world events and want to participate in the collective fantasy at Taproot.

Friday, April 01, 2022

April Theater Seems Pretty Happy - Lots of comedies

Down The Rabbit Hole at Cafe Nordo (courtesy Cafe Nordo)
Theater companies seem pretty happy, this month, as many launch comedies or comedic productions. There are also a couple of world premiere works. Have you started attending again? Hope so! Everyone is still masked and checked for vaccinations, so it feels pretty safe.

Down The Rabbit Hole, Café Nordo, 4/1/22-5/28/22
Part theatre and live music, part art installation, and part dinner with drinks - guests of Down The Rabbit Hole will find themselves at a Wonderland cabaret! Watch Alice stumble into a world full of mad characters with a modern twist – here audiences play judge and jury in the court of the Queen of Hearts. During this original and immersive art experience, audiences will be entertained, they will wander, and they will enjoy whimsical food and drink, perfectly themed with the evening of entertainment. This cabaret experience has a karaoke twist! On Friday and Saturday night, guests who wish to step up to the White Rabbit’s microphone are encouraged to give their song requests to the furry footed MC – curtain call could feature YOUR rendition of a Rabbit Hole themed tune!
Ghosts, Seattle Rep, 4/1/22-5/1/22 (tour)
In a new translation ofHenrik Ibsens controversial drama, Mrs.Alvingwelcomes home her beloved son Oswald after many years away. Rebuilding her life after the death of her unfaithful husband, she struggles to keep her husband’s debauchery hidden to protect his reputation for the sake of her son. But when Oswald begins a new romance, secrets of all kinds emerge, and Mrs. Alving must decide what course to take to truly be free.