FCP’s Ghost Light Series & OhR’lyeh Theatre Present “Scarborough”

Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

Flint Community Players Ghost Light Series has combined with the OhR’lyeh Theatre Company to produce British playwright Fiona Evans’ Scarborough. Startling, now and then comical, often disturbing, this script is nonetheless intriguing and incisive. It is also intended for mature audiences.

A student and teacher have gone off to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Scarborough to spend a weekend together. That situation in itself could make the story both tricky and even voyeuristically interesting, and it does. But there’s more as the tryst plays out and is then repeated verbatim with the role of student and teacher reversed.

OhR’lyeh’s co-founder Carl Mizell directs this production. His cast is small but impressive as they portray these socially, shall we say awkward, characters. He has a lot of stage area to work with, maybe too much, but it is used well. The scene is confined to a single room in a bed and breakfast and opens with what seems at first to be just a young couple enjoying a holiday.

Daz (Kyle Clark) and Lauren (Kristen Carter) have spent the night and are preparing to see the local sights. They seem compatible and comfortable with each other at least until Lauren suddenly balks at being seen with Daz in public. It all comes spilling out then – Lauren is Daz’s teacher and, at 29 she is 14 years his senior.

Suddenly we look at things differently. Clark’s youthful exuberance becomes teenage angst while Carter’s playful admonishments force us to perceive them as chastisements. Still, there is clear attraction between these characters. Staying in the room all weekend will bring moments of anger and rebuke, but also affection and tenderness.

Ultimately the love won’t last as both realize there is more operating here than meets the eye. Lauren reveals to Daz that she will marry her current partner who is much older than she. Maybe you can sense a pattern here.

The fact that we accept this affair as plausible and possible and even okay, says much for the playwright’s delivery of the story. But when the second half turns the characters around – well, the play takes on a new dimension.

This time Connor Klee plays the teacher and Layla Meillier is the student, and even though the lines are identical, there are personality facets that color the delivery. Perhaps the most interesting aspect this time is the dramatic irony this tactic creates. After all, we know what’s coming and the characters do not.

Meillier is bubbly but much more confident as this teen. She seems to dominate even Klee who is her senior. He, on the other hand, may seem slightly smarmy as the man seducing the young girl.

Did we mention dialect? The northern English/Scottish dialect is very well handled – sometimes so well it was difficult to understand until the ear became accustomed to it.

In the end, there is parting of the ways, but it is handled with masterful finesse.

This is a gentle and incisive look at a phenomenon we’ve all heard about but perhaps avoided dwelling on. We left the theatre impressed and thoughtful. Perhaps you will, too.

Scarborough continues at the Tom & Bea Nobles Performance Hall, 2462 S. Ballenger Hwy, Flint, MI 48507 through July 31. For more information and tickets contact the box office at 810-441-9302 or online at www.flintcommunityplayers.com

 

 

 

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FENTON VILLAGE PLAYERS MUSICAL “GREASE” OPENS STRONG

Joseph Michael Mishler

Fenton Village Players production of Grease opened strong on Thursday night at the Karl Richter Community Center Auditorium. Grease started with a bang and stayed that way until the end.

Grease, book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, is set in the late 1950s. The plot line revolves around a group of high school kids trying to find their way into adulthood. The musical is a period piece and one has to understand the time in which it takes place. This version of Grease was the adult version and it contains some language and rude gestures/moves. The show is very popular and the music gets every audience moving. Did I mention that it was also a popular movie? Ah, yes, the beginnings of rock ‘n’ roll music.

Let’s start at the end. The cast and crew earned a sustained standing ovation. Even before the show ended, people wanted to stand. Not only that, they did an encore, singing again. People loved the show. The pit orchestra was wonderful, the choreography by Andrea Allen-Arnold was exceedingly well done, and the staging was excellent. The sax player on stage at the end was a nice touch.

One of the problems they had all night was with microphones. Either they were coming in late, or they didn’t work, or there was static. Several opening and scene endings were affected by this technical problem. They also had some issues with their computer that wanted to be part of the musical by flashing pictures at the wrong times.

But beyond that the cast was a wonderful ensemble and did an outstanding job. Everyone looked like they were having fun and there was a lot of energy. The first act was a little inconsistent in terms of chemistry and action. The School dance and “Born to Hand Jive” is an excellent example of how good the ensemble was.

Melissa Mercieca as Betty Rizzo gave a very strong performance. She portrayed Rizzo perfectly by being bold, brassy, hot and rebellious. When she sang “Look at me I’m Sandra Dee”, she captured the audience. Playing Patty Simcox, Vanessa Caswell also gave a strong performance. She was very close to being a scene-stealer.

Gage Webster’s dancing and singing were great as he portrayed Danny Zuko. He gave a very good performance, and Sadie Kessler was very convincing as the innocent newbie, Sandy Dumbrowski. There could have been more electricity and chemistry between the two as their performance together was good, but it needed a little more spark.

Danny’s crew of Colin Hodgkin, Daniel Ragan, Donovan Leary, and Griffin Grabowski were all well cast. All good singers and dancers, they really helped to make the show great. The Pink Ladies, consisting of Aubrey Forsythe, Amber Fuller, Melissa Mercieca, and Lauren Kondrat, were also all good singers and dancers bringing a lot of energy to the stage. Together, they gave strong performances.

I am not listing everyone and that is not intended as a slight, because this review could go on for several pages. There were many terrific individual and ensemble performances. The show ended with a powerful surge, and the audience loved it.

In spite of technical difficulties, the cast and crew did a great job. Their use of the set and stage was impressive. I highly recommend this musical for all audiences. Yes, there are a few crude gestures here and there, but they only add to the theme. Even the little car got in on the fun and was applauded for its efforts.

My compliments go out to Jonathan Smith for an excellent job of directing Grease.

Grease performances will be July 21-24, and July 29-31, 2016. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday performances start at 7 pm, and Sunday performances start at 2 pm. Grease is being performed at the Karl Richter Community Center Auditorium, 300 East St., Holly MI 48442. Contact Fenton Village Players by emailing them office@fentontheatre.org or go to their website www.FentonTheatre.org.

 

 

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“Little Red Riding Hood” Is In Town For One Weekend Only

0Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby

It was a lovely Thursday evening and the Pavilion was crowded with kids (and adults) for the Kearsley Park Players opening performance of this season’s children’s play, Little Red Riding Hood. In what has become a tradition, the youngsters are invited to sit on rugs right in front of the stage. Thursday, director Kay Kelly began the evening by quizzing the kids – “What is a play?” – and she got some pretty pithy answers – “It’s real people….!”

Indeed, Kelly and her crew cut no corners in bringing the kids a fully costumed and “real people” show. Maybe you think you know the story of Little Red, but local playwright Megan Donahue brings a few surprises to this well-known tale. Especially aimed at the younger set, there’s still enough clever dialogue to keep mom and dad entertained through the approximately 30 minute performance.

First there’s Little Red’s Mom and Granny chatting in the village square and setting up the reason for Red’s eventual visit. Then there’s the Muffin Lady with her amazingly expensive and fruit laden muffins. Surprisingly – her salesmanship leads to a happy ending.

Of course, this show involves the peril faced by Little Red as she sets off to visit her Granny across the forest. She has been warned to stay on the path to avoid a confrontation with the Big Bad Wolf, but alas, the flowers she wants for Granny don’t grow on the path!!

Red is accompanied on her trek by an adorable group of moths and butterflies that warn her in no uncertain terms to “Stay on the path! Stay on the path! Stay on the path!” And of course, she is nearly abducted by Mr. Wolf who isn’t at all afraid of her method of scaring him away– we have to say this beast’s beard and long ears were a hoot!

Even Granny is taken by surprise and put in a bag, which is so much better than being eaten. And true to the tale, the Woodsman arrives to save the day. Don’t worry – he doesn’t kill the Wolf. Seems he’s less a hunter and more of a natural resources kind of guy. But, remember the muffins? Turns out that wolves, or this one anyway, LOVE muffins!

WARNING! This weekend is your only chance to catch this darling show. So, load up the kids and some lawn chairs and head to one of these performance locations for this free theatrical treat:

Friday July 15

Catholic Charities Day Camp 10:00 AM

U of M- Flint Early Childhood Education 11:00 AM

Haskell Community Center 1:30 PM

Boys and Girls Club 2:30 PM

Linden County Park (Clover Beach) 7:00 PM

Saturday, July 16

Max Brandon Park, Flint 2:00 PM

Mott Park, Flint 3:00 PM

Flushing County Park 7:00PM

Sunday, July 17

Flint Cultural Center 1:00 PM

For Mar Nature Preserve 2:00 PM.

McKinley Park, Flint 3:00 PM

 

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Kearsley Park Players Summer Tour Continues with “Little Red Riding Hood”

This Children’s Fairy Tale Will Be Seen Across Genesee County From Thursday July 14 thr0ough Sunday, July 17Public Welcome – Free Admission

The Kearsley Park Players Summer Tour continues with their annual children’s fairy tale. This year’s production is “Little Red Riding Hood” and the 30-minute show is perfect for young children. Due to the short length, shows will start promptly.

The production features Ashlee Stimson in the lead role with support from a large company of actors, including Amber Dillard, Jessica Eldridge, Michael Kelly and others ranging in age from 4 to 67.

 All performances are free and open to the public. They begin on Friday, July 14 with a 7:00 PM performance at Flint’s Kearsley Park Pavilion and finish on Sunday, July 17 with a 3:00 PM performance at Flint’s McKinley Park.  In between, the show will travel to nine other locations across Genesee County.

The schedule of performances;

Thursday July 14

Kearsley Park Pavilion 7:00 PM

Friday July 15

Catholic Charities Day Camp 10:00 AM

U of M- Flint Early Childhood Education 11:00 AM

Haskell Community Center 1:30 PM

Boys and Girls Club 2:30 PM

Linden County Park (Clover Beach) 7:00 PM

Saturday, July 16

Max Brandon Park, Flint 2:00 PM

Mott Park, Flint 3:00 PM

Flushing County Park 7:00PM

Sunday, July 17

For Mar Nature Preserve 2:00 PM.

Flint Cultural Center 1:00 PM

McKinley Park, Flint 3:00 PM

No tickets are required. Please bring your own lawn chairs everywhere except Kearsley Park. For more information, contact Director Kay Kelly at (810) 845-4050.

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Coming This Month at Flint Community Players

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An electrifying portrayal of a dangerously charged romance between a fifteen-year-old and their teacher.
For Mature Audiences.
Performances:
July 22, 23, 29, 30, at 7:30PM
July 24 & 31 at 2:30PM
Tickets $10.00
A joint presentation of Flint Community Players’ Ghost Light Series and Ohr’lyeh Theatre Company. All shows in the FCP Ghost Light Series are intended for mature audiences.
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Flint Youth Theatre’s Summer Stage Festival Brings Classic Tales to Life

Summer camps and two productions for the young and young-at-heart

WXA_E25PeJqWvXO3sI-osE3RHwIgTVmyLtHG75c6dKp81WfIi_Y38dNi7xo4tzbPbYtB3_J3ildqcfsycbAZZXnNe-i5v4u6RUpmsLmt9b9npdV1ku-WNtIrQ4Xoad4XZJFldtIfkSzyWvM=s0-d-e1-ftFlint Youth Theatre presents its second annual Summer Stage theatre festival, featuring Stuart Little and William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The productions will be presented in repertory over a two week period, August 11 – 21. Both shows are suitable for family audiences, and are a great way to introduce children and families to professional theatre. Summer Stage is part of FYT’s slate of summer programming, which also includes a variety of theatre camps for students preparing to enter grades 1 – 12.

Stuart Little brings to life the classic tale of a little mouse making his way in a “real people’s world.” Stuart’s larger-than-life adventures will delight audience members ages 3 and up. The Tempest, William Shakespeare’s final play, tells a tale of a shipwreck, a magical isle, and young love – with a few unexpected twists along the way. Celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s life with his greatest play, suited for ages 12 and older. The casts for both productions are comprised of adult professional company members and student company members in grades 7-12. In addition to rehearsing the productions, the students have had the opportunity to work on sets, costuming, and learn lighting and sound for a fully immersive theatre education.

FYT’s summer camps will explore storytelling, stage performance, acting techniques and musical theatre. Camps are segmented by age groups, ensuring age appropriate curriculum and small class sizes. All camps culminate in a performance for friends and family on the Bower Theatre stage.

Tickets for both Summer Stage productions range in price from $12-$18 and are available to purchase online at www.thewhiting.com/tickets or at the door. Please call Flint Youth Theatre at 810-237-1530 for more information.

FYT SummerStage Schedule:

E. B. White’s Stuart Little

Thursday, August 11, 2 p.m.
Saturday, August 13, 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 14, 2 p.m.
Thursday, August 18, 2 p.m.
Friday, August 19, 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 20, 2 p.m.

Shakespeare’s The Tempest

Friday, August 12, 7 p.m.
Saturday, August 13, 2 p.m.
Thursday, August 18, 7 p.m.
Friday, August 19, 2 p.m.
Saturday, August 20, 7 p.m.
Sunday, August 21, 2 p.m.

The SummerStage program is sponsored by the Nartel Family Foundation; Stuart Little and The Tempest are sponsored by Howard and Rita Shand.

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“THE ASH GIRL” OPENS AT CLIO CAST AND CREW

Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler

            Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Ash Girl opened Friday June 17 at Clio Cast and Crew’s Theatre 57 under the direction of Terry Holden.

This play is a somewhat darker adaptation of Cinderella. Throughout the play the Seven Deadly Sins attempt to wreak havoc on two different families. Werternbaker was considered one of the most influential British playwrights of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Her plays include The Line, Our Country’s Good, and The Love of the Nightingale.

Ash Girl lives in the hearth protected by the ashes, but when she emerges, she is put upon by her two not-so-bright sisters and their angry mother. I am not going to go into much of the story that relates to Cinderella because everyone knows it, but I am sure Disney might not touch this adaptation. Part of the play revolves around those Seven Deadly Sins and their effort to entice Ash Girl over to the dark side. You’ll have to see the show to learn what happens.

The set was very well done. Loved the cave, the hearth and the stairs to the forest. My question is why did the director put the bulk of the action on the far left of the stage? The right side of the stage is much more effective. Also, why didn’t the director have the actors use more of the stage rather than be scrunched up on the sides? Because of the compression, there were awkward moments.

This is a large cast and the costuming was extremely well done.

Samantha Tack played the title role and gave a good performance. She related well with the other actors and was convincing. She did however seem a tad bit young for a romance. As her two mean sisters Kayli Wade played Ruth and Rochelle Dula played Judith. They were a hoot and played by their own rules very well.

Pamela Beauchamp played Ash Girl’s Mother. Hers was a very strong performance and she was a convincing intimidator. Sierra Williams played Prince Amir, and while she gave a good performance, she needed to be a little more convincing.

Conner Hozwarth as the Owl and Steve Yerian as the Otter handled these roles nicely. Playing Sadness, Dawn Sabourin gave a good performance. Jeff Springay was fun to watch playing the Slothworm and proclaiming that he was a “Slug.” His neon green costume almost stole those scenes. He earned a well-deserved nap.

The Seven Deadly Sins were good, but didn’t create enough intensity. Some of them were not animated enough – The Slothworm is excused from that comment. Other than the Sloth, the only really animated one was Noah Beauchamp who played Greedmonkey. There was not a strong sense of ominousness or danger in the play. This was also true when Sadness and her followers were trying to seduce Ash Girl. The mice were cute and it was great when they practiced their gallop. Julianna McKay, who played the Fairy in the Mirror even she is not on the cast list, gave a good performance.

Overall, this is a good production. I like the attempt to give us a different version of Cinderella. If you’re looking for something with a different twist, this would be interesting to see. A round of applause is in order for the set designer and the costumer.

The Ash Girl performances will run June 18, 23, 24, 25, at 7:30 pm, and June 19 & 26 at 2:30 pm at Theatre 57 located at 2200 W. Vienna Rd., Clio MI 48420. Box office call 810-687-2566 or for tickets online at http://www.cliocastandcrew.com.

 

 

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