Author: Melanie Parry

BLITHE SPIRIT is a tough slog, despite artists’ best efforts

SALT LAKE CITY — If you’re looking to listen to Americans shout at each other in posh British accents for three hours, Blithe Spirit is the show for you. The play is a tricky combination of wonderful talent and excessive dialogue. While Westminster College has an impressive talent base in the theatre department, even Westminster College couldn’t save this rambling Noel Coward script. But first, the good news. Director Melanie Nelson selected the perfect cast, with every actor an excellent choice for the part.  The whole cast had an electric energy together, a chemistry that would be more typical of a cast that’s...

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Prepare to give your heart to LUNA GALE

SALT LAKE CITY — Perhaps the best way to gain empathy for people who are different is to listen to their stories.  Sometimes those stories can be shocking or disturbing and we want to shy away and avoid discomfort, but it is so important to remember that the people in the stories have no such option.  They can’t just opt out, those stories are their lives.  Westminster College’s Luna Gale, while not based on specific person, presents events that have happened countless times to real people. Written by Rebecca Gilman and directed by Jared Larkin, this play explores the most...

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The fantastic FANTASTICKS at the Empress

MAGNA — The longest-running show in America, The Fantasticks is an exciting and intriguing story with a small cast. But it’s so energetic that it feels like a huge production. Director Kyle Esposito explains it well in his note in the program, “The Fantasticks is, at its core, a morality tale about the realities of life and love.  It is the ultimate romantic Anti-Romance.  It satirizes the over-the-top nature of young love and those romantic stories, while simultaneously viewing that young love as important in forming who we are.” The story begins with Matt and Luisa (played by Jordan Briggs...

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Funny fraud, hilarious hijinks in CASH ON DELIVERY

OREM — If you’re in the mood to laugh for two hours straight, Hale Center Theater Orem’s Cash on Delivery is where you need to be. The jokes were non-stop, the characters were hilarious and charming, and the energy between the actors was electric. Michel Cooney’s play has many different kinds of humor, from clever wordplay to slapstick injuries, from mistaken identity to a fight with a rogue washing machine. Real-life married couple Greg Hansen and Rachel Woodward Hansen play Eric and Linda Swann, two lovely British people with steady jobs and calm lives—except that while Linda is at work, Eric is at...

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Charming holiday cheer in A CHRISTMAS CAROL

WEST VALLEY CITY — The Christmas Carol has been a popular story for over 170 years.  It has the magic of Christmas, the human condition, redemption, family, love, kindness, unrequited romance, it’s a wonderful mixture of reality and the supernatural.  The set is not contained to the stage, and even every entrance is decorated to look like the streets of old England, even the ones that are not used in the production.  Evergreen garlands, red velvet ribbons, and flickering candles in old fashioned lanterns fill the space and draw the audience into the production with the actors. The Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley takes on this production every year to sold out audiences.  many families traditionally attend or even participate each year.  I attended this show on a Monday so I saw the Monday/Wednesday/Friday cast, but I’m sure the other cast is equally talented and engaging. This year’s Ebenezer Scrooge played by David Weekes was energetic, emotional, and engaged.  There are many times when Scrooge is left on the sidelines to observe a scene in which he does not participate, and Weekes stayed involved and focused through the whole thing.  This was particularly impressive because it was the second show of the night.  Playing Scrooge means playing two different characters and transitioning smoothly from one to the other. Weekes did this very well with his subtle reactions to the...

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