Author: Amber Peck

You can’t stop the beat of Pickleville’s HAIRSPRAY

GARDEN CITY — Being a teenager is a tough job. In high school, most of us wanted a lot of things: we wanted to belong, be liked, have friends, freedom, and we really really wanted that one special guy or girl to notice us. A lot of these desires don’t go away just because we grow up; everybody wants to be loved and accepted. In Hairspray, a musical set in the 1960s (with music by Marc Shaiman and lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman), a teenager named Tracy Turnblad deals with these same challenges. She doesn’t fit in to the typical cool crowd, and she’s always getting into trouble at school. But she finds that by being herself she can still get what she wants out of life and help others do the same. Tracy’s story is being brought to life this summer at the Pickleville Playhouse, and the lead role belongs to Kenzie Davis. Kenzie is a talented performer and I’ve seen her in several roles at Pickleville. But I was so pleased to see what she did with this character. Kenzie Davis’ Tracy has an innocent sweetness and a generous helping of soul. Her attitude toward inequality was matter-of-fact, optimistically determined. She gave me chills during tender moments and made me laugh with her gigantic personality. Pickleville’s duo of Tracy and Penny was perfect; I didn’t want...

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Enjoy a stroll in the woods with the U.’s AS YOU LIKE IT

SALT LAKE CITY — There’s a popular theory that Shakespeare wrote As You Like It using elements he knew would be a hit with his audiences, and that it maybe wasn’t one of his more successful shows.  He even finishes the show with a speech from Rosalind about the mixed reception the play might have. And though the University of Utah’s current production has a great deal of strengths, I must say that I didn’t like it. The inconsistency in apparel was a major problem for me in this play. Costuming might not seem like a big deal, but attire can provide...

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9 CIRCLES is upsetting and necessary

OGDEN—Through the first three scenes of Weber State’s 9 Circles, I sat dreading the negative review I’d have to write. This script could be a winner, I thought, but the rigid, almost robotic delivery of the text was killing it, line by line. Even taking into consideration the speech pattern of military personnel, and the technical jargon of a lawyer/attorney, I could not justify the loud, overly annunciated recitation of each sentence by all four of the actors. But thankfully, the heavens opened and the lead actor became a regular (albeit mentally disturbed) human being, and his cast mates...

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Plan-B teaching kids thru RUFF! times

SALT LAKE CITY — Plan B Theatre Company will soon be touring elementary schools with their adorable new production Ruff, by Jennifer Nii. This play is a sweet and optimistic take on the sad circumstances of two shelter dogs. One dog has been abused, neglected, and abandoned over the years, and the other’s “Nana” has passed away. The two dogs are placed in the same kennel at the animal shelter, and as they share that space, they share a few lessons with each other, too.  I attended one of the performances at the Great Salt Lake Fringe Festival with my husband and...

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Pleased as punch by DROWSY CHAPERONE at Pickleville Playhouse

RICH COUNTY — With a title like The Drowsy Chaperone, and promotional material that generally features an armchair or a record player, I’ve never been that interested in attending this play. It was only because a review was requested, and because that request came from Pickleville Playhouse, that I decided to check it out. And from the quirky monologue that begins the show, to the casual snacking post-intermission, and all the way through the touching final number, I was so pleased that I had. In this play, written by Bob Martin and Don McKeller, I discovered that the iconic armchair lives...

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