Author: Amber Peck

Romeo and Juliet on the grass in Kaysville

KAYSVILLE — Romeo and Juliet by the Grassroots Shakespeare Company isn’t just a “play” or a “show”; it’s an experience. It felt like a concert: the energy, the flexibility, and the interaction with the audience.  The stage was outlined on the grass with a small rope, the curtain was hung between two ladders. I didn’t get to hide in the dark like a good little reviewer; I was inches from the actors, so I know that my face was broadcasting my review as I smiled for an hour and a half, and practically bruised my cheek muscles. Grassroots is a second-year theatre troupe from Utah County, whose aim is to present Shakespeare in its original form. They perform outdoors with simple costumes and minimal set. There is no director, no tickets, nothing but the play. One actor explained to us that Shakespeare often posed questions to the audience in his plays, and that our participation would improve the overall production. We were even encouraged to throw rotten fruit if the play did not meet our expectations. They shared Shakespeare’s classic story with us—nothing dumbed-down or modernized. The Montagues hate the Capulets and the Capulets return the favor. Conflict sneaks around the streets of Verona, until Romeo and Juliet meet.  Then things just fall to pieces: murders, banishment, poisons, and a dagger. The family feud loses each household a beloved child....

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‘Casey’ entertains a sell-out crowd

PROVO — Casey at the Bat was introduced in 2007 at the NAMT (National Alliance for Music Theatre) Festival for New Works; so as far as musicals go, this one is still a baby.  And like an infant, Casey is full of energy and potential for growth.  The musical starts and ends with the words of the infamous poem, but it turns out there is much more story to be told.  BYU has done a great job in this “workshop” production, giving Casey some positive momentum, I hope. The musical tells the story of a down-and-out town called Mudville and their hometown baseball team.  When newcomer Timothy Casey joins the practically bankrupt team, he changes more than just their morale; Casey brings new life to all who live in Mudville. Dix Colby Densley was a star in his portrayal of Casey.  During the poetic intro, I was admittedly disappointed at his size (I had the Disney cartoon in my head), but his large personality and enormous talent quickly filled the stage.  He was the dictionary definition of a hero and a great leading man.  I was less pleased with the casting of Densley’s romantic counterpart, who acted more motherly than anything else.  Annalece Boothe is a talented singer, for sure, but her acting left me feeling uninterested.  The writing, sadly, did not help Boothe with her character development. Timothy...

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Love Letters: See the show or read the book?

SALT LAKE CITY – Love Letters has become a tradition at the SLCC Grand Theatre (and in many other places) around Valentine’s Day. It’s a story of two friends/lovers and the letters they have exchanged throughout their lives. The script is fascinating, and I would have loved to read it, at home in my pajamas. Sadly, though, I sat through two hours of someone else reading it to me. I left the “play” perplexed as to why this was ever put on a stage. Perhaps because not everyone reads; it’s possible that this play was produced for those non-readers, who would only hear the story if they could pay $25 and bring a date. Maybe?

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Pleasantly surprised by the story of Jack

SALT LAKE CITY — Jack and the Beanstalk, at The Children’s Theater in SLC, was a visual delight with natural comedy; it left me feeling joyful and excited. What this cast and crew have grown from the meager beginnings of this fairy tale, is nothing less than magical.

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