Alas and alack a day! Woe to us all! The town’s aflame! Run for the hills! Write a musical comedy! Why sure, life is just a laugh a moment. Here, put on this gas mask and dance, dance you fool!
To say Mad Cat Theater’s founder Paul Tei has eclectic tastes is like saying there’s water in the Atlantic. It’s too bloody obvious. But it’s just as well, for Mad Cat’s production of Centralia written by the Scottish/Norwegian/Swiss/Ecuadorian and British Superbolt Theater features everything theatrical but the kitchen s... no, wait, there’s maybe one of those, too. And there’s certainly a large white bear.
Superbolt looked at the tragedy of the Centralia coal fire, ongoing since 1962 and pretty much wiping out an entire town, and wrote this nifty little musical play. It runs for only sixty minutes and you’ll snigger, groan and laugh for just about every minute.
Centralia is a clever piece, fast, funny, imaginative. Troy Davidson, Theo Reyna and Bonnie Sherman bring great good humor and charm as the three last residents of Centralia, touring the world to tell their story. Steph Taylor, the show’s composer/arranger, when not playing drums, piano, keyboards and guitars, joins the others in dance. Troy Davidson as Alistair is always at ease, endearing as the town’s last store keeper, and handyman Norman (Theo Rayna) playing the rankest of amateur actors, commits every possible stage sin, including bouncing off the furniture. Bonnie Sherman, returning to Miami after a seven year absence in NYC, plays the multi-charactered Jennyfer, tenderly serious one moment, wonderfully funny the next, flinging herself around the stage like a demented doll in leotard and tights.
This not a cynical piece, despite the laughs. The serious moments are few, and moving. The poignant dance with the three actors wearing houses as heads will stick with you.
Matt Corey is the sound designer, Michele Zohn the choreographer. Lighting design by Melissa Santiago Keenan and costumes by Karelle Levy. Paul Tei also designed the clever brick walled, wooden fenced set replete with glowing stones and noxious fumes.
Centralia, under Director Paul Tei is nicely original, feel good theater.
It plays through August 31 at the SandBox, Miami Theater Center, 9806 N.E. 2nd Avenue, Miami Shores. 866-811-4111 for tickets. http://www.madcattheater.org