Author: Christian Cragun

SEE HOW THEY RUN finishes strong at BYU

PROVO — See How They Run by Phillip King is a classic farce about the Toops, a vicar and his uncouth wife living in a small English hamlet during World War II. Things get tricky when the vicarage has a number of unexpected guests show up all at once, including a nosy neighbor, a Russian prisoner of war, Mrs. Toop’s old USO buddy of Mrs. Toop’s, her father-in-law (who also happens to be a bishop), and a bumbling vicar from out-of-town. Things get complicated with all of the random visitors, but it all comes to a head when at least five...

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STEEL MAGNOLIAS finds moments of beauty

SPRINGVILLE — Full disclosure: I am nowhere near the target demographic of Steel Magnolias. Now with that out of the way, I can fully attest that this show can be enjoyed by most anyone. Though it centers around a group of gossipy women, I was truly able to have a great night watching the Springville Playhouse production of this perennial classic. Steel Magnolias is a show all about character relationships. Written by Robert Harling as a means of healing after a family tragedy, the show focuses on friendship and the strength and support that can be found in tribulation. Everything...

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Echo Theatre’s BIELZY AND GOTTFRIED is moralistic, not a morality play

PROVO —  Bielzy and Gottfried is one of the first entries in what the Echo Theater is calling its Playwriting Showcase. Unfortunately, this entry featured a poor script and an unpolished production that lost sight of the goal of making the audience really think. The show is structured using a series of short plays that are all tied together (and sometimes influenced by) the over-arching story of Lucius Bielzy and Joshua Gottfried; two play producers who were symbolic of the Devil and God. In the prologue, they reach an agreement to show a set of plays to an “unbiased” audience,...

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FARLEY FAMILY REUNION is a study in character and culture

PROVO — There are certain shows that know their audience. Some know their audience a little too well. Such is the case with James Arrington’s perennial one man show The Farley Family Reunion, now playing at the Covey Center in Provo. Arrington’s show uses familiar Utah/Idaho stereotypes to create a show that seems almost perfect for Utah County audiences. The premise of the show is simple and is summed up quite nicely in the title. The Farleys are gathering for their annual reunion. Arrington plays all of the characters (hence, one man show) from Heber, including the septuagenarian emcee and a four year old girl who can’t keep herself still. The audience is also included in the fun, as everyone was welcomed as a member of the family and asked to wear a name tag throughout the show. The Farley Family Reunion is also unique in the sense that there really isn’t a plot to speak of. The audience gets the basic outline of “family reunion,” but from there it’s really just a series of monologues that don’t really build on one another. That’s not to say that the show needed a plot, but it becomes more of a character study at that point. It’s almost as if Arrington is saying, “Here’s this character, look at the funny way they act. Okay, now here’s this character, look at the funny...

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No deliberation necessary: TWELVE ANGRY MEN is a superb show

CEDAR CITY — For me, the best theatre has always been the type that does more than just entertain. I love a show that tries to improve the audience in some way, or makes them take a hard look at who they are and what they do. The current production of Twelve Angry Men playing at the Utah Shakespeare festival is a great example of a show that does just that. It manages to instruct without being too preachy and accomplishes this through a proven script, powerful acting, and purposeful directing. All of which is capped off with a strong...

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