BWW Reviews: Northern Stage's THE SPITFIRE GRILL is a Must See
I have seen the movie version of The Spitfire Grill on multiple occasions. I had taken a liking to it for a couple different reasons. The movie was set in Gilead, Maine, which I grew up about 20 minutes from. The film was shot on locations near where I currently live and where I attended college. At the time it was a big deal and many locals where cast as extras. Now almost 20 years later, I had the opportunity to view the adapted musical version at Northern Stage in White River Junction, Vermont. If I may be so blunt, you must see this show.
This is the last production of Northern Stage's 2013-2014 season and they picked a wonderful little show to end on. Directed by Northern Stage's Producing Director Catherine Doherty and with Musical Direction by Joel Mercier, Northern Stage once again puts together a powerhouse of a show that let's you visit the ups and downs of small town life. The cast is a mix of actors who have graced this stage before with a mix of some newcomers. The ensemble as a whole tells the story incredibly well.
For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to see the movie, don't do so before seeing this show. It's the musical tale of Percy Talbot (Amanda Ryan Paige), who is a recent prison parolee as she ventures to this small town for the hopes of beauty and a new life. She's placed by the local Sheriff Joe Sutter (Kevin David Thomas) at the only place to eat in town to work as a waitress, where she meets Hannah Ferguson (Susann Fletcher) who owns The Spitfire Grill. Both Talbot and Ferguson are strong characters who appear are bound to butt heads. Woven into the story are a small handful of locals who are caring, controlling, nosey, helpful and mysterious in their own right. Yet they drive this story home as we learn about the trials and tribulations of living in a very small town where everyone not only knows your name but your business as well.
This is not a large ensemble show. Don't go expecting to be amazed at large dance numbers and belters knocking your socks off. This musical just isn't that type of show. You should go see this show to hear poignant lyrics and music. You will see an amazing set designed to be functional as it aids the storytelling incredibly well. You will venture on a journey through the lives of 7 interesting people such as Shelby Thorpe (Marisa Devetta) Caleb Thorpe (Ben Sargent) Effy Krayneck (Charis Leos) and The Visitor (Alan Gelfant).
The Spitfire Grill continues its run through May 4th. For tickets and information about Northern Stage, visit www.northernstage.org.