BWW Review: SPITFIRE GRILL at Cyrano's Theatre Company
Spitfire Grill premiered to a delightfully full house last Friday night which was especially surprising as the sun just started to break through the clouds about an hour prior to the show. Thankfully Cyrano's summer musical was well worth missing a rare sunny evening.
Spitfire Grill, directed by Warren Weinstein and musical direction by Lynette Harple with music and lyrics by James Valcq, is based off of the 1996 movie with the same title. Meet Percy Talbot (Anna Cometa) who shows up in Guliad, Wisconsin after being released from prison ("A Ring Around the Moon"). She meets Joe (Douglas Gleason), the friendly neighborhood sherif who suggests she work for the hardened Hannah Ferguson (Kendra Gladwill) at the Spitfire Grill. Frequenting the grill is Shelby (Lisa Willis), her husband Caleb (Martin Eldred), and Effy (Meagan Hays). After Hannah breaks her leg, Shelby helps Percey keep the grill running, despite protests from her Caleb. After learning that Hannah no longer wishes to keep the grill, Shelby and Percy scheme up an essay writing contest to pawn it off. As letters come pouring in, the townsfolk remember what they love and what they have lost. Hannah asks Percy to place a loaf of bread out the back where a mysterious person (Matt Fernandez) collects it. What else is lurking in the woods of Guiliad?
Cometa's tender performance immediately draws the audience to sympathize with her. Eldred, Gleason, and Hayes's voices enveloped the audience during "Something's Cooking at the Spitfire Grill"and "Ice and Snow." It is always a treat to hear Willis sing; her renditions of ""When Hope Goes" and Wild Bird" were very moving. "Forest Full of Trees" showcased Gleason's powerful tenor. Brian Saylor (Set designer) and Ilona Wright (prop director) beautifully recreated your favorite diner, down to the sugar shaker, the defunct radio, and old-time-y fridge. The lighting (Frank Hardy) perfectly captured the shifting daylight of Guiliad.
At the end of the evening I was glad to have left a sunny evening to attend this performance. The music--catchy and sometimes haunting--has been floating through my mind ever since. The cast is full of energy and incredible voices. The musicians, Kelly Leavitt and Lynette Harple, never missed a beat. I could have closed my eyes, not paid attention to the plot at all, and be completely satisfied with the music alone. The solid acting and the uplifting plot made Spitfire Grill a musical that will put a smile on your face for the rest of the week.
Eat up the amazing voices of Cyrano's production of Spitfire Grill. Spitfire Grill is performing until August 19th. Tickets are available at Centertix.com.
Photo Credit: Flavin Photography