BWW Reviews: 2 ACROSS Warms Worthing
As I sat in the back of the theatre and watched the audience members leave after seeing Olde Towne Dinner Theatre's production of 2 Across on Friday night I was struck with the happiness radiating from each and every person. After talking to Director and Managing Artistic Director, Andy Heller, that was no accident. "Our goal here at Olde Towne is to send the audience away with a smile on their face and a smile in their heart." Mission accomplished Mr. Heller!
2 Across by Jerry Mayer is the story of two strangers who meet on a subway car in San Francisco. Neither of them is looking to meet another soul but by the end of the show it is certain that each person is forever changed because of this chance encounter that neither one of them expected to have.
When I entered the theatre I immediately knew where the show was set. The very realistic subway car design, by John Boe, was impressive. I also knew that our characters would not be going anywhere during the show since there were no entrances or exits. Of course this made me nervous. It made me even MORE nervous when I read the playbill and saw that there were only two actors. There is so much pressure on the actors in a two person show, the show demands constant commitment, high energy, and an over the top devotion to the learning of lines. Gerrit Wilford as Josh and Drinna Brinkerhoff as Janet understood the job that needed to be done and delivered. Right from the start I was impressed with Wilford, a Brandon, SD native. His skill and experience were apparent. He inhabited the slightly older and overly quirky Josh with ease and grace of a much more seasoned performer. Brinkerhoff's portrayal of "Granite Janet" was consistent and strong. At times the pair's age difference became apparent but the high energy of the script and the humor of the words easily let you ignore it. Heller said, "Garrit was my top pick from night one of auditions and Drinna was my top pick from night two. Yes there is an age difference but who's to say whom we can fall for these days? There are no rules anymore." Even with all of the humor, there were moments of seriousness. Wilford hit his stride when reciting a sonnet by Francesco Petrarch. The show was light, fun, and highly enjoyable.
I had the chance to talk to Heller after the show. Heller, along with Artistic Director, John Boe, have been the driving forces of Olde Towne for the last 2 years. Both came into Olde Towne as actors and over time fell in love with the family feel of the theatre and the professionalism of the shows. Heller and Boe both graduated from South Dakota schools, Heller from The University Of South Dakota and Boe from the University of Sioux Falls. They each bring a new level of passion and enthusiasm to this 30-year theatre. Old Towne is kept running by the commitment of its volunteers. From actors to servers, its volunteers are the heart and soul of this little theatre. Heller has been with the theatre for 4 years and even though he adores everything that Olde Towne is, he has big dreams for this little theatre. "It is our 10 year goal to possibly move into a bigger space, as great as that would be, I never want to lose the feel of this current theatre." Olde Towne's walls are lined with history. Headshots of past actors are everywhere you look, when you enter the theatre you get the feeling that you are entering the home of an old friend. Olde Towne is unique in so many ways. One of its claims to fame is the dinner that accompanies each show. "We want to give our audience the complete date night experience. From the dinner, to the show, to the wine, we have it all." And they do. Olde Towne is proud of their always-changing dinner choices and is committed to offering the special dinner theatre experience to each and every audience member. "We pride ourselves on high quality at a little cost." says Heller.
Under the direction of young and vibrant talent such as Heller and Boe this little theatre has a bright future. "We want our audiences to know that these old bones still have a lot of life in them. Trust us, if you come to one of our shows you are going to walk away happy!" The next show of the Olde Towne season is Murder at the Howard Johnson's. The rest of the season includes, Nunsense II: The Second Coming, The Kitchen Witches, and Moon Over Buffalo. All ticket information can be found at www.oldetownetheatre.org or by visiting their page on Facebook. "I truly enjoy my job and am so thankful for the family of Olde Towne, I just want everyone to experience this amazing little theatre." Worthing is just a short drive down I-29 from Sioux Falls; it truly is a little theatre with a very big heart!
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