MURRAY — Desert Star is somewhat unique in the dinner theater genre. They know what works for them and they do it well. They have created a very well-oiled machine to turn out family-friendly entertainment that keeps people coming back year after year. Even in these lean times for many theater companies, Desert Start seems to be thriving by giving people what they want.
Their latest production, Goldilocks Capone and the Three Amigos is a charming example of what they do best. The story is typical melodrama fodder and a fun twist on the Three Amigos movie from the ’80s. The Three Amigos, Rusty Spur, Catastrophe Jane and Deseret Jim, are on their way to Murray for a restaurant opening when they encounter the Del Taco family. The Del Tacos are looking for heroes to help them in their fight against Goldilocks Capone who wants their land for the water rights to help her expand her West Wendover casino. The Amigos assume they are being asked to perform their act, but soon realize the gravity of the situation and after some initial misgivings, end up saving the day.
The performances we saw on Friday night were universally excellent. The performers are all talented and know their material. The night I saw the show the cast was Mary Parker Williams as Goldilocks, Corinne Adair as Chalupa Del Taco, Jack Drayton as Rico Del Taco, Justin Berry as Pepe Colada, Corey Brandenburger as Pancho Chico, Bryan Daley as Rusty Spur, Brittney Marie Nelson as Catastrophe Jane and Bryan Matthew Hague as Deseret Jim. There were some real standouts, though. Ms. Williams went effortlessly from sweet and child-like to gritty villain. The “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane” look the character had worked wonderfully. And I don’t know if it was just the wig, but she had, at times, an eerie resemblance to Gilda Radner that seemed to make her lines even funnier. The only downside was that throughout her solo number in the first act, most of her lyrics were completely lost. Not sure if it was a microphone problem, or poor sound mix. Ms. Adair was wonderful as Chalupa. She has a lovely voice (easily the best vocalist on stage) which really shines in the olio (more about that later).
The other actors who really impressed me were the duo of Pepe and Pancho, the show’s narrators, and light-hearted henchmen to Goldilocks. Mr. Berry and Mr. Brandenburger were very likeable and fun. And they never lost the wry twinkle in the eye at the audience as they played the storyteller-as-part-of-story bit. Costuming by Lynn Funk was fun and witty, especially Goldilocks’ aging child star look. Choreography by Julie Heaton was both fun and lively, fitting the style of the show.
The last time I saw a show at Desert Star, my biggest complaint was with the olio. It was good, but the performances were not energetic and the whole thing seemed tacked on “because this is what we do.” This time the olio was wonderful! It had energetic singing, dancing, and comedy bits that really hit the mark. This is Desert Star’s patriotic olio, and with an election year approaching, there were some brilliant political jabs taken here. Ms. Adair did a spot-on impersonation of Sarah Palin. That alone would have been worth the trip. The Romney/Huntsman duet to “Anything You Can Do” by Mr. Berry and Mr. Hague also scored many laughs with the audience.
Yes, Desert Star knows what works for them. And it works for me, too.