LET'S HAVE A GOOD LAUGH
By Marsha Wilson Rappaport
Be Advised: You will need to bring a wad of tissue to this play. Laughing until you cry will be real and frequent.
“Disaster” takes advantage of the same strange impulses that drive our enjoyment of Zombie Flicks. This quirky play takes that impulse up a notch by knowing that we will watch AND sing along if the gore is accompanied by a Disco Beat from the 70’s.
Director Kim Mytelka truly lives up to the theater’s mission to: “Create a repertory company dedicated to eclectic and entertaining theater” with this production. In fact, after laughing my way through my entire stash of allergytissues, it occurred to me that describing this “happening” was going to be a bit of challenge.
The short description of the play might be a series of dramatic subplots, a real disaster, romance and death generously wrapped in our favorite 70’s songs.
Justin Gonzalez, a fan favorite is one of dramatic lynch pins of this quirky play as Chad. I can tell you that one of his duets with romantic lead, Marianne, played by Sarah Myer was truly unforgettable. The song “Baby Hold On to Me” takes on a new meaning when the principals are drowning, and surrounded by shiny Piranha, who had just reduced a crew member to a skeleton. His BFF Scott, played by Kyle Crawford, produced one of the loudest laughs of the evening with a rendition of “You’re My Best Friend”. You will never hear the phrase “ Ohh You Make Me Live” the same way again, after seeing it sung by a man with a Slot Machine Arm sticking out of his chest.
Patty Talley as Sister Mary Downy belting out “Never Can Say Goodbye” to a slot machine was an incredibly comic moment which also revealed a lot about the complexity of human nature. Her foil, Levora, played by Aggie B. Balka, brought a powerful voice and serious acting skills to the ensemble.
Sandi Morgan as Shirley and Paul Hager as Maury, infused a note of real tenderness with their relationship and their theme song “You’re Still the One”. Alex Petty, as Professor Ted Scheider brought the perfect mix of “geek” and whimsy to his role as a “harbinger of doom”. And Cameron Dunbar, was delightfully smarmy as Tony, the Casino owner who didn’t seek redemption until there were two sharks handing from each arm. Jackie, played by Katie Harrison, shines as the ultimate pretty “cruise entertainer” who can’t get away from predatory males.
Special mention should be made of Caitlyn Mytelka. Without providing a spoiler, she did one heck of a job as Lisa or Ben or..you have to buy a ticket to see for yourself.
Holt Kirkindoll as Jake, Brennan Ashley, Sophia Carraro, Cody House, Thomas Holt Kirkindoll, Juliana Miller and Chris Monteith, provided dancing, singing as well as moaning and groaning and bloody injuries.
The stagecraft on this production was intricate and truly fascinating. It was one of those rare plays where you literally looked forward to seeing how they were going to pull off a new set piece. Thomas Boone, the Set Designer is truly talented. Music Director Eduardo Guzman should be commended for a presentation of music that kept the audience humming.
If you haven’t been to the ETC lately, this play is a great way to get back into the groove. After-all any performance that starts with two guys making Donna Summer’s “Hot Stuff” humorously believable is a sign of good theater times to come!
Special Note: Thanks to the nice guy at the concession stand!
East End Theater Company
2317 Mechanic Street
Galveston, Texas 77550
(Tickets can be purchased online)
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