Somewhere between the recent winter of our discontent and what we hope is a glorious summer lies the Spring Comedy Festival at the Purple Rose Theatre. This season’s festival, PRTC’s third, is billed as “Lovers, Liars & Lunatics” and it does indeed feel a breath of fresh spring air.
Comprised of a quick prologue and ten scene-length comedies written by favorite PRTC playwrights, this show is like the Michigan weather – always changing and full of surprises. Some of the stories are sweet, some are dark, some carry valuable life lessons, and some are delightfully silly. But all are high-caliber comedies, and it’s hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t enjoy this production. “Lovers, Liars & Lunatics” would be a great choice to introduce a reluctant someone to the joys of live theatre. And tickets to this show would make for a brilliant – and easy to execute – Mother’s Day gift.
The collection of short comedies includes new plays by Purple Rose favorites Jeff Daniels, David MacGregor, Carey Crim, and Craig Pospisil. The opening and closing scenes come from Kirsten Knisley’s charming “Soul Mates,” which debuted at Magenta Giraffe last year. And Lauren Knox, a Resident Artist at PRTC, contributes one of her original comedy shorts and is also one of the six featured performers.
In addition to Ms. Knox, the cast includes five other Purple Rose favorites who play multiple roles – sometimes dashing through a series of costume changes, accents and hair-dos to pull it off. Lauren Knox, Rusty Mewha, Michelle Mountain, Michael Brian Ogden, Rhiannon Ragland and Tom Whalen prove something of a dream cast – vaulting from one type of comedy to another with the skill of Parkour athletes. Artistic Director Guy Sanville is not afraid to let the company bring out the big guns of physical comedy when it’s called for, but quickly dials it back for more subtle stories that satisfy in a different way.
The PRTC Spring Comedy Festival “Lovers, Liars & Lunatics” runs at The Purple Rose Theatre through Saturday, May 24, 2014. Regular performances for the duration of the run are Wednesdays through Saturdays at 8 p.m., with Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 3 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.
Design for this production includes set by Vincent Mountain, properties by Danna Segrest, costumes by Suzanne Young, lighting by Dana L. White and sound by Tom Whalen. (The interstitial music, ranging from Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars to Jefferson Airplane’s “White Rabbit” deserves special mention.) Stephanie Buck is the Stage Manager for this fast-paced romp and Angie Kane Ferrante serves as assistant. All performances will be held at The Purple Rose Theatre Company, 137 Park Street, in Chelsea.
Ticket reservations can be made by calling The Purple Rose Theatre Company Box Office at (734) 433-7673 or by visiting the PRTC website.