Pin It
Favorite

Dogpatch Review 

by Sheri Boggs
Reviewing community theater is never an easy thing. Do you apply the same standards as you would to professional theater? Or do you adjust those standards, always keeping in mind that community theater exists because of a cast and crew of dedicated, enthusiastic volunteers? In the case of Lake City Playhouse, it's a hard call. It makes one think of the film Waiting for Guffman and how hard everyone's working to make the show happen. At Lake City, it's obvious that cast, crew and management are enthusiastically hustling to produce the best theater they possibly can. And while Lake City Playhouse has had some rousing successes over the past couple seasons, sometimes, as in the case of their current production of Li'l Abner, it just falls short of the mark.


Based on characters created by cartoonist Al Capp, written by Melvin Frank and Norman Panama with lyrics and music by Johnny Mercer and Gene de Paul, L'il Abner has long been a part of the American pop cultural consciousness. Daisy Mae, Li'l Abner and the unfortunate Scragg family are as familiar to many theatergoers as Little Orphan Annie. And what high school doesn't have a Sadie Hawkins Dance, named in honor of the man-chasing Sadie Hawkins Day Race from Li'l Abner?


Candace Deaton plays the curvaceous, vivacious Daisy Mae. Her voice was strong, with a bit of comic growl in her musical numbers, and she shows potential as a good comedic actress. Here, however, she seems miscast. Daisy Mae is supposed to be a 17-year-old girl, and Deaton appears to be much older. Her more mature persona makes the character come off as more Mae West than Daisy Mae. In a similar vein, Ben Betts looked the part of Li'l Abner, but he wasn't always able to sing it. He had the loping, lazy, hillbilly charm of Li'l Abner down pat, but his singing voice lacked the strength and surety needed for the lead.


Speaking of singing, the musical element is one area in which the theatrical cake could use more time in the oven. In some ensemble scenes, the cast seemed uncertain as to what lyrics they were singing, and some members could be seen watching their feet in the dance numbers.


Director Sandy Gookin should be credited for shaking up the status quo in her casting. Two typically male roles, those of Dr. Rasmussent T. Finsdale and the President (of the United States) were both filled by women, Jesi Gaboury and Ariel Gimlin, respectively. Gookin also cast two kids (Kasey O'Brien and Paul Michael Banducci) in the typically older adult roles of Mammy and Pappy Yokum. O'Brien and Banducci put a lot of energy into their roles, but their undeniable youth proved to be ultimately too distracting.


The aforementioned Gaboury (who also served as assistant director on this production) had plenty of stage presence (too much, at times), and Shannon Cord, as Appassionata Von Climax, played her red-wigged caricature role with all the campy, vampy va-va-voom of Jessica Rabbit. Also deserving mention is Keenan R. Bianchi, nerdily cute as Available Jones, with his owlish Harry Potter glasses, pale skin and oversized jacket. Marryin' Sam (Mike Grabenstein) could use a lighter hand with the makeup.


Li'l Abner had its moments, however, many of them in the details. A nice bit of straw-in-mouth choreography in "If I Had My Druthers" was fun to watch, and while the occasional rapping segment and one bit of Austin Powers' inspired mugging didn't work for me, seeing a boxed Chia pet on stage during one scene did.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat
Julyamsh

Julyamsh @ Kootenai County Fairgrounds

Through July 24

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone


marijuana


Briefs


election 2016


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • More Than Skin Deep
  • More Than Skin Deep

    A woman loses a tattoo to start a new life
    • Dec 10, 2014

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation