A few years ago I was lucky enough to be in a 20th Street Production (Fort Edmonton Park) called On the Wire. It was directed by Amanda Bergen and written by Nick Green and I had a blast working on it. Last night, I returned to the Park for Nick and Amanda's production of Poof! The Musical. It was my first time in Capitol Theatre which was only a plan when I performed in the Park. The Theatre is lovely - a nice vintage inspired space that looks perfect in it's location and which also really suited the production. There are some special features to the space that were used very well - I loved how they created a complete world using the projections and when the seats literally shook I was giddy with glee! I often get worried about the reliance on projections in productions, but T. Erin Gruber's design worked delightfully so much so that you often forget those weren't real walls and paintings behind the action.
The show itself was a fun, spooky, campy piece which was performed and sung excellently by the three actors onstage. Green's script is tight and sassy. The script merged well with the actors onstage, and Bergen's direction creates some wonderful moments including a side-busting chase sequence. Garrett Ross as Awanda Brumschtic (complete with 3 inch heels and mini-skirt) attacked his role with such finesse that it almost felt like he was improvising, but the banter was so sharp I am pretty sure it is exactly what was on the page. Eric Wigston and Madelaine Knight hold their own in the comedy and singing department and it was an excellently balanced show - no weak links! It's a very silly play, but filled with fun, clever jokes, biting sarcasm and well-sung, well-written songs. It's got a nice spooky element (the 'ladies' are witches after all) for this time of year. It's not really for kids, but I would say that it would have been perfect for my 11 year old. He would have been howling.
I also wanted to note that it was really great to see an original musical on an Edmonton stage. I love all the Broadway shows that people do, but there is something cool about seeing something brand new and to see a company take a risk like that. To also have it tuneful, well-written and well-performed is a testament to our local talent. As well, this company has worked hard to make the show affordable, with tickets starting at $20.00 for students/seniors to $28.00 for adults. A pretty sweet deal for a great gut-busting night of entertainment!
*#46 in my Theatre Goal for the Year. BBoyism was #45 and A Few Good Men was #44.
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