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The Colors of Gilead, Wisconsin show brightly in Buck Creek's “The Spitfire Grill”
The stage show (based on the movie of the same name) follows a strangely dark theme that successfully interweaves warm and endearing messages throughout! This beautifully crafted show is brought to life by a talented cast, creative staging, innovative set design, and captivating lighting and sound design.
This show follows an ex-con, Percy Talbott, to a small town (Gilead Wisconsin) which is greatly in need of re-energizing. The town of Gilead has lost its only source of real income as the quarry which helped it sustain life has long since closed. In her new home, a struggling grill, run by gritty owner Hannah (Susan Page), becomes Percy's only hope for a new start at a better life.
The Spitfire Grill cast is well rounded with their performances, bringing to life the little town that time forgot. The two female vocal leads, Percy Talbot (Kristi Wilkinson) and Shelby Thorpe (Christy Walker) each struggle with their own inner demons, but find positive changes in their lives which flow easily from their characters as the story progress. Kristi's outstanding portrayal as Percy Talbott gives the audience someone to care about while allowing the mystery of her past to keep the rest of the cast at a cautious distance. Along the way, Percy befriends Shelby (Christy Walker), a meek housewife too afraid to speak her own mind in front of her brutally controlling husband Caleb (Joe Urban). Joe Urban brings Caleb to life on stage in a manner which leaves the audience uncomfortable and waiting for him to leave the scene. Christy portrays Shelby with such finesse that you want to cheer for her when she finally stands up to her domineering husband Caleb. Sheriff Joe Sutter played by Shane Arthur struggles between his growing feelings for this new addition to the town and the role he needs to play as her parole officer. Seasoned actress Susan Page Freeman plays crotchety Grill owner Hannah whose strong performance shows through this strong willed character. The dark story is lightened by Kari Ann Stamatoplos who portrays the nosey postmistress Effy, a role that seems to have been custom tailored for Kari Ann. Her strong voice and character is able to break up the tension of the show giving the audience a chance for breath. Displaying sensitivity difficult for veterans of the stage, newcomer Tony Stamatoplos (Kari Ann’s husband) plays the mysterious visitor who never speaks but is able to use his strong mannerism to tell a much deeper story.
The strength of the characters is a credit to the actors and director. Everyone in Gilead had been closed off from one another, living in their own fear, unable to see beyond themselves. Their conversations were borne of years of “sameness” belying the weeks of rehearsals. As the whole town talked about the contest to raffle off the Grill, they suddenly came alive and began to connect with each other again.
Beautifully acted and sung, the actors can’t do what they do without a staff to get them there. Director Scott Robinson assembled a strong cast and a talented staff to make The Spitfire Grill somewhere to be.
Last edited by Joe; 06-06-2006 at 07:13 PM.