Wednesday, May 2, 2012

River City Community Players "Laramie Project" review by dramapapa

Worth the drive
Rating: 5

The Laramie Project
River City Community Players

I had the privilege of seeing "The Laramie Project" at The River City Community Players Theatre this past weekend. While I've seen a number of musical productions at this venue, this was my first opportunity to see a non-musical. I was very pleased with what I saw.

A cast of 13 actors portrayed nearly 70 characters in this show and they did a very good job bringing a different attribute to each role. There were a number of stand-out performances in this production. As the narrator, Tisha Entwistle does a very good job keeping the show flowing along. Her voice is very pleasant, crisp, and easy to understand. Since she is off stage during the show it might be easy to forget about her, but it needs to be mentioned of her wonderful job. Other standouts are Carol Varner, Mike Forsythe, Spencer Williams, Brenda Henson, and Andy Entwistle.

Two scenes I found to be spectacularly done. Carol Varner as Reggie Fluty and Spencer Williams as Aaron Kreifels in the Finding Matthew Shepard scene; and Mike Forsythe as Rulon Stacey in the 3rd Medical Update scene has to be some of the most powerful and emotional performances ever on this stage. The acting and emotion were brilliant and became real life to the audience. Very well done.

The set was very simple and effective. Using just black boxes which are moved from one scene to another at a fast and simple pace worked very well. On the audience left of the stage there is a large screen that during the show projects actual images of Laramie to bring a reality to the production. One other piece of the set is the construction of a fence at the back of the stage; this doesn't stand out a lot until on the slides a picture of the fence Matthew Shepard was tied to pops us. The set piece is constructed to look just like this fence and then becomes a very powerful prop to the show.

Kaci Forsythe and Kyle Young did an exceptional job with their direction of the show and should be commended. There is still one final weekend of production. It's a pleasant drive up to Leavenworth and I highly recommend making the trip to see a really good show.

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