Saturday, January 3, 2009

Starting the new year with a bang

You can always count on a great show when Warner Shook directs, in no small part because actors are dying to work with him. Elizabeth Huddle "is now mostly retired" says her bio in the program for Seattle Rep's You Can't Take it With You. If you look really closely, you can see the phrase "except when Warner calls" in tiny print thereafter. Huddle worked with Shook on ACT's smash hit The Women in 2007, as did fellow cast members Anne Allgood, Elise Karolina Hunt, Suzy Hunt, and Annette Toutonghi. Throw in talented stage veterans such as R. Hamilton Wright (who just missed a Wisey nomination for best actor in 2008), Michael Winters, Frank Corrado, and Allan Galli, and you can't miss. One of Weisenheimer's theater-centric friends says of You Can't Take it With You, "Truly, you can't do much to mess up that play." Shook and cast delivered.

Corrado was over the top as Kolenkov, the Russian dance teacher to whom everything "stinks." Winters displayed wry comic timing as Grandpa, who gave up work 35 years ago and doesn't miss it. Wright and Galli, as Mr. DePinna, had a number of hilarious scenes with their basement fireworks manufacturing. One nearly wants to cry when DePinna's "Roman costume" goes up in smoke with the entire supply of rockets. Allgood just about runs away with the play with her arts projects and the word association game that takes the snooty Kirbys down a few pegs. Suzy Hunt is a scream in a short role as the drunken actress Gay Wellington. Weisenheimer loved Hunt as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret last year at the 5th Avenue.

Our one disappointment with the play was the grand entrance of Huddle as Olga the Duchess in the final act. Her arrival is trumpeted wildly by Kolenkov, there's a grand, eight-and-a-half-months-pregnant pause, the audience titters in apprehension of something hilarious, and then -- the duchess walks in. Nary a pratfall. Well, sometimes the anticipation is funny enough.

The Rep's production of You Can't Take it With You was a great way to end the year. They had a party in the lobby afterward, with drinks, dancing, munchies, and the Space Needle Fireworks to blast in 2009. I imagined that the whole show was built by Sycamore and DePinna. Weisenheimer looks great in a tux, and Sweetie the Scorer was the belle of the ball. Her new green dress.... ooh, la-la!!

1 comment:

Lisa said...

OK, no fair teasing. Where are the photos of you and Sweetie in your splendor?

What a lovely night. DId I tell you I played Alice in my high school production of "You Can't Take It With You" when I was a senior? First (and last, I think) stage kiss.

My twin sister played the Duchess. She was hysterical.