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

  • Skunked
  • Skunked

    Why Spokane County Commissioners passed a temporary ban on new outdoor pot farms without telling anyone
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Prisoner Problems
  • Prisoner Problems

    Computer errors continue to plague state Department of Corrections; plus, Washington ranked first in pro-charter-school policies
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • In Defense of Refugees
  • In Defense of Refugees

    In the aftermath of the presidential election, local residents seek ways to love and support their refugee friends
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Gingerbread Build-Off

Gingerbread Build-Off @ Davenport Grand Hotel

Sun., Dec. 11, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

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

  • Unfinished Business

    Isaiah Wall wants to get his life on track. But first, he's gotta buy drugs for the police
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Fake-News Nightmare

    The social media dream of the 2000s is fading, but we can reset the system by sticking up for the truth
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

Briefs


green zone


marijuana


trail mix


Comment


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
  • Buzzkill
  • Buzzkill

    Elected officials in Idaho won't mellow the state's pot laws. Can an initiative change that?
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation