The Column Best in DFW Theater 2016

 

 

 

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THE KITCHEN WITCHES THE KITCHEN WITCHES
By Caroline Smith

ONSTAGE in Bedford

Directed by Mike Hathaway
Artistic Director – Michael B. Winters
Set Design – Alex Krus
Lighting Design – Adam Livingston
Costume Design – Hope Cox
Sound Design – Mike Hathaway
Properties Design – Dawn Blasingame
Stage Manager – Adam Livingston

CAST
Andrew Christian – Stephen Biddle
Adam Livingston – Rob
Lana K. Hoover – Dolly Biddle
Sherry Etzel – Isobel Lomax

THE KITCHEN WITCHESTHE KITCHEN WITCHESTHE KITCHEN WITCHES






Reviewed Performance 5/29/2016

Reviewed by Angela Newby, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN

The Kitchen Witches is a play that is all about fun and entertainment. Two enemies of the cooking world, Dolly Biddle and Isobel Lomax have both had their shows canceled, and the only way to keep a cooking television show is to do one together, the play where Martha Steward meets Jerry Springer.

Director Mike Hathaway did a phenomenal job assembling the cast who was able to easily make this comedy come to life. Each of the actors worked off of each other well, which only added to the humor of the show. Artistic Director Michael B. Winters was able to bring it all together with Hathaway and create a show that left everyone leaving the theater in smiles and talking non-stop of how wonderful it was.

Set design by Alex Krus was simple and straight forward. The stage was comprised of two doors leading off to dressing rooms, the producer’s stand, and then the main entity of the kitchen and cooking island. They made full use of the kitchen island which is one large piece in Act One and two smaller cooking areas in Act Two. The kitchen was painted in a beautiful blue that compliments well to the multiple cooking television sets that grace the play.

Properties Design by Dawn Blasingame was brilliant and matched perfectly within the script. The stage in Act One is decked out to look like your grandma’s kitchen circa 1980’s, down to the floral dishes, and rooster wall hangings. In Act Two though, Blasingame completely changes the properties to build a contemporary and modern kitchen that I would be proud of in my own house. The attention to detail was perfect down to the hand towels and pot holders.

Hope Cox’s costume designs were artful and spot-on. Cox was able to define the two acts of the play easily with her costume choices. Act one was very rustic and basic, while act two holds a more refined nature, and Cox nailed this distinction. Stephen Biddle was contrasted with khaki’s, polo, and sport jacket, and then a full suit as well. Dolly Biddle was a Canadian grandmother in her red pleat skirt and white peasant shirt, then stylish in green pants and floral top, and lastly in her martini loving pajamas. Isobel Lomax on the other hand was dressed in basic black pants and camisole, and then through the use of jackets showed her different sides. Rob was the only one who looked the exact part of the AV tech in his jeans, graphic tee-shirt and plaid shirt. Cox’s choice of costumes allowed for the comedic nature of the play to carry through to each outfit that was worn.

Adam Livingston’s Lightening design was simple, yet effective. With the use of spotlights and full lights, the stage was always set in subtle tones that moved smoothly from one to the other. The use of a single bulb lamp gave a hint of mood change in a poignant conversation between mother and son. The green and red lights of the witches’ cauldron poem only enhanced the scene.

Sound design by Mike Hathaway made this show pop with life. The pre-show music of television theme songs was perfect as was the spooky music of the witches’ cauldron poem.

Andrew Christian played producer Stephen Biddle. Christian’s excellent enunciation and vocal inflection only enhanced his frustration with the two women. Yet it was his forced smiles and head in his hands that truly show his waning patience. Each of Christian’s actions was well thought through and accentuated the theme of the play.

Rob played by Adam Livingston was the quiet giant of the show. While he only had one line, it was his facial expressions and body language that upped the comedic factor that the show needed. Livingston’s scows and glares perfectly portrayed Rob’s feelings toward the outlandish situations occurring around him.

Lana K. Hoover excelled in the role of Dolly Biddle, the creative and funky television personality. Characterization was easy to see through the use of different accents, inflections, and vocal tones as she accentuated her different television personalities. Hoover’s facial expressions were the hit of the show and reminded me of Lucille Ball and had the audience on the edge of their seats awaiting the next punch line.

Sherry Etzel played Isobel Lomax, the other television cooking personality and enemy of Dolly Biddle. Etzel never once faltered and moved seemingly effortlessly between the dynamic roles of her character. It was Isobel’s stuffy personality that Etzel easily portrays with her pursed lips, curt nods, and stiff body gestures.

The humor of this show landed on Hoover and Etzel and they did not disappoint. Each of them did a fabulous job and kept the laughter coming. Their close working relationship was evident and shines through the script.

ONSTAGE in Bedford kept the audience engaged with The Kitchen Witches. This comedy kept the audience laughing through the whole show as well as interacting with the “live” show in front of them. ONSTAGE has knocked this one out of the park and it is a hit.




THE KITCHEN WITCHES
ONSTAGE in Bedford, 2819 Forest Ridge Drive, Bedford, TX 76021
Runs through June 5th

Friday and Saturday at 8:00. Sunday matinee at 3:00. Ticket prices are $19.99; seniors, students, and
Bedford residents are $14.99. For tickets and information, go to www.onstageinbedford.com or call the
Box Office at 817-354-6444.