How well do you know your loved ones? What if they had a secret? A secret so big that it could cause you to flee, changing everything about your life and yourself in the process? Kip (Matthew Blood-Smyth) has such a secret, and in the bold comedy “Wonder of the World,” currently running at Miners Alley Playhouse, his wife Cass (Haley Johnson) is so shocked that she packs up and runs, deciding to change her life. It’s a fun and clever story, with plenty of laughs and even a bit of heart.
As Cass runs from Kip, she sets out with a huge bucket list, intent on completing every item on its multiple pages in an effort to discover the meaning of life, and her own purpose on this planet. On the way to Niagara Falls, she runs into a stranger on a bus (Lindsey Pierce) who is traveling with a rather large barrel. Of course, there is just one thing that a person does with a barrel at Niagara Falls, and suicidal Lois is intent on seeing it through.
There is a cavalcade of crazy characters that join Cass and Lois along the way, including the somewhat familiar Captain Mike (Christian Mast), two bumbling private detectives that Kip has hired to find Lois (Debra Caamano and Verl Hite,) and several waitresses and other kooky characters all played by one very busy actress (Erica Johnson). In the end, the weaving plot lines all manage to tie together in typical David Lindsay-Abaire fashion, with absurdity and hilarity in spades.
Director Robert Kramer has assembled a strong cast to bring the wacky world to life, and it is a true pleasure watching Haley Johnson and Lindsey Pierce living these zany characters, as the two women are perfectly cast. The cast is close, (proven by a line flub towards the end of the show in which Johnson quickly swooped in and covered seamlessly,) and they are having a great deal of fun on the intimate stage.
Christian Mast is soft and understated, in a drastically different version of Captain Mike than is often portrayed. Mast’s Captain is soft and gentle, and oddly reminiscent of Matthew Blood-Smyth’s Kip. It is a smart decision by Kramer to portray Captain Mike in such familiar territory for Cass, allowing her to fall for the stranger while clearly still in love with the man she left behind.
One of the difficulties of a script like “Wonder of the World” is it’s multiple set changes, which often take the momentum built by the actors on stage to a screeching halt. Kramer has found a unique way to handle the changes, by allowing the stage crew their own little cameos and jokes, to bring some humor into each change. It works well, for the most part, though it does drag on a bit, lengthening an already long play. In addition, the sparse set was sufficient, with some nice room to allow for projections to help set the scene. Designers Rick Bernstein and Jonathan Scott-McKean embraced the need for multiple locations and created a workable solution.
A play like “Wonder of the World” is a bit of a change from the traditional fare offered at Miners Alley Playhouse. But with talent like Haley Johnson, Christian Mast and Lindsey Pierce at the helm, then Miners Alley certainly has a show to be proud of, making it a welcome addition to the changing face of this established company.
Miners Alley Playhouse presents
"Wonder of the World"
Nothing will prepare you for this dirty little secret.
July 26 – Sept 1, 2013
Fri. and Sat. @ 7:30 p.m. and Sun @ 6 p.m. (2 p.m. on Sept. 1)
Tickets are $19.00 - $26.50; senior, student and group rates available.
303-935-3044 or online at www.minersalley.com
Miners Alley Playhouse
1224 Washington Ave.
Golden, CO 80401