There are times I question why I subject my ADD, monkey mind to the theatre. I mean, after all, paying attention to something I am not actively, physically involved in can be taxing or nigh on impossible.
The Count of Monte Cristo was NOT one of those nights. Never once did I check my cell phone and I think I may have only fidgeted twice - ok it was six times, but cut me some slack, that’s still pretty good for Queen Narcissa. You might think the two glasses of wine helped hold me to my seat but nay say I! It was really THAT good. As in pretty darned close to stellar, best I’ve seen, kicked some serious arse kinda good. This one, Yvonne AK Johnson (director) knocked out of the proverbial ball park - not edge of the seat kinda knocked, but the kind where you just can’t take your eye off the damned ball kinda knocked).
Spokane Civic Theatre really elevated their production value on this one…the costumes and make-up were super stellar although I have to say, the hair Paul Villabrille was sporting for the “I’m stuck in prison” look scared the hell outta me. Yeesh. And Peter Hardie’s head of hair (same scenes) was right up there. Speaking of Peter Hardie, holy hell, that man rocked the stage as Abbe Farria. I’ve only ever seen Peter backstage, creating sets and backdrops and running around with his Transcend the Bullsh!t mug drinking that horrible coffee they make in the scene shop. I’ve never seen him act and now, I’m sad for it. I fell in love with him and his character. He was, in a word, great.
Ok, back to my blathering and my original point: Yvonne and Spokane Civic Theatre took this production to a whole new, higher level from the special effects, set, choreography, props, and direction. The acting was overall excellent with only minor quibbles and since I am playing theatre critic (with absolutely no experience to back that sh!t up), I’ll quibble.
- I adored Dexter Calkins but i always do. The kid kicks butt and I’d like to see him in more local productions.
- You know Peter Hardie was my flavorite, but Damon Mentzner was a close second. He dangled the role of Eugene Danglars like a bad a$$. I mean he was pretty close to perfect (for me and we all know what qualifications I lack). Hats off to Ryan Patterson as his wife, Hermione. I’m betting having to faint four times a week is leaving a bruise or two on her.
- Paul kicked it as Edmond Dantes (The Count of Monte Cristo) although there were times when he was playing all suave and debonair that I thought he rushed his words and hell if I know what he was saying.
- Who knew Chris Taylor could be so slimy? I mean he teaches the kids at Civic and in the production, he was awash with icky. I’ve met him in person and he’s all nice and quiet(ish) and over all good guy. So, not Gerard de Villefort.
- Will (Design Spike Programmer Extraordinaire) favored the sons this production. He thought both Taylor Pedroza (Albert Mondego) and Steven Anderson (Benedetto) were among the best actors in the entire production. High praise. Trust me. I thought Taylor made a good schmuck. Then again, I think that is exactly what he was supposed to do.
So there you have it. My long diatribe telling you why you should see the Count of Monte Cristro at Spokane Civic Theatre. Only two more weekends left. And seriously, I realize my argument ain’t that good but c’mon cut me some serious slack. Ok? Just see this play wonderfully directed by Yvonne AK Johnson.
By the way, Yvonne, Will and I think you should produce the musical version of Cristo. Who the hell even knew there was one???