In spite of the northern setting, the themes of family tradition, hunting and the fragile yet dominating sense of manly pride all ring familiar to anyone who lived in WNC in the 1970s and ’80s.
Jaylan Brinson, as Alice Beineke, brings down the house with a magic potion-induced number that ends with her atop the dinner table.
Murphy Funkhouser Capps takes us along for the ride from her childhood through motherhood, and beyond. She provides laughter and pathos amid the literal stacks of world-worn suitcases that adorn the stage around her.
There’s a universal truth or two that confronts us through the clever dialogue and well-placed gallows humor.
The show was probably played as contemporary from its 1965 Broadway premiere through at least the early 1990s, but it’s become a bit of a relic of its era, with its casual approach to what can be considered somewhat toxic masculinity today.
The show slyly has a lot to say, but keeps it cleverly buried under the circus-like central concept.
‘Broken Bone Bathtub’ strips not only the performer, but also the veneer of theatricality, and achieves something more honest and human than expected.
The magical combo of wistful nostalgia mixed with a hint of the comically absurd makes this show is a charmer, whether the viewer is a dog lover or not.
This pairing of one acts from the post-World War II era of what was known as absurdist theater were often presented together to create a full evening.
The show is a lean, tension-filled piece that gives both actors a chance to run the emotional gamut.
Asheville’s thriving comedy scene remains active with local artists while also attracting major touring acts.
‘Sanders Family Christmas’ is the sequel to the bluegrass gospel musical ‘Smoke on the Mountain.’ It runs through Sunday, Dec. 23, on the campus of Mars Hill University.
The show has garnered something of a cult following and the late night showings are legendary for being even more raucous than their early-evening counterparts.
Michael Lilly is fearless in this role. He isn’t afraid to wear the emotions on his sleeve, whether he is making snide comments on the insincerity of the minister’s words in his father’s funeral service, or on the verge of emotionally melting down.
There are quick change costume gags and a wry wit about the show that feels akin to something out of Monty Python.
Both shows are decidedly darker and edgier than one would expect from HCT, and the theater company deserve credit for going out on a limb.
As Nixon, veteran actor Michael MacCauley may not look like the former president, but so flawlessly inhabits the essence of Nixon that you are transfixed by his every word and gesture.
There’s a nimbleness to the writing that propels the play. It is the sort of script seasoned performers crave and can elevate.
The characters and plot in general make us think that this could all be happening in the next town over from the Cohen Brothers movie Fargo.
Director Marci Bernstein takes the audience on 11 unrelated journeys in monologues by a who’s who of local talent. Each scene is its own story, and each actress holds the stage alone for those scenes.
The play was written by Larry Larson and Levi Lee nearly 40 years ago. Of course, the Cold War era of the early 1980s informs the anxiety of the world being left a smoldering heap with few surviving. And it still works well today.