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BWW REVIEW: WONDER OF THE WORLD - Hilarious Dark Comedy

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Austin's City Theatre and newcomer Beyond August Productions have joined forces to produce this darker than black comedy...

BWW REVIEW: WONDER OF THE WORLD - Hilarious Dark Comedy

I love a good dark comedy, don't you? I love the shock value, the unexpected laughs and the way it looks at a world that's just a bit off. WONDER OF THE WORLD by David Lindsay-Abaire is just that kind of show.

Austin's City Theatre and newcomer Beyond August Productions have joined forces to produce this darker than black comedy at the Trinity Street Theatre this fall. Lindsay-Abaire is no stranger to the genre having written the darkly hysterical FUDDY MEERS. This play opens as Cass (Jill Klopp-Turner) is packing her suitcase to leave her marriage. She has recently discovered that her husband Kip (Patrick Wheeler) has a sexual perversion that is so unspeakable (and ultimately funny) that she can no longer live with him. He surprises her by coming home early for work with a treat, aspic (yes, that gelatinous mid century molded party item that has all kinds of mystery meat, vegetables or fruit featured in every ladies magazine of the time). Kip can't convince Cass to stay, but she does take her 'treat' with her when she leaves. Our heroine is headed for Niagara Falls, via bus, where she meets Lois (Robin Conner). Cass latches on to the suicidal Lois to help her complete a bucket list, things she has never gotten to do. The duo start to bond as they meet crazy characters along the way where situations get weird and hilarity ensues.

WONDER OF THE WORLD is a wacky show. The trouble with wacky shows is they can get out of hand, become silly rather than ironic, but director Andy Berkovski keeps things simple. He brilliantly puts the focus on his actors and lets them do what they do best, entertain us. With such a stellar cast it's hard to miss. As Cass, Jill Klopp-Turner gives a brilliant performance as the wronged wife, aching to step into a larger, albeit weirder world. She glows with enthusiasm and sends sparks of energy through the entire show. Patrick Wheeler is symptomatic and creepy in his role as the controlling husband Kip. Kirk Kelso and Jennifer Gonzalez are hilarious as a hapless couple willing to do anything to make a buck. As the captain of the famous Niagara Falls tour boat, Maiden of the Mist, Kevin Anderson is not only charming, but the perfect romantic foil for Kip. Shannon Embry plays multiple roles with the speed of lightning and a wink to the stage device. My favorite is her clown/therapist, a total hoot. But it's Robyn Conner that shines brightest on stage. Her timing is perfect as the depressed Lois, who has plans but is helplessly caught up in the whirlwind that is Cass. The cast works well together and makes the 2 hour run time fly by.

Perfect as an escapist laugh, WONDER OF THE WORLD is certainly worthy of your time. Please note that this production is checking vaccine cards at the door, requiring masks inside the theatre and seating the audience as separately as space allows.

How To Get Tickets

WONDER OF THE WORLD

by David Lindsay-Abaire

City Theatre and Beyond August Productions

At Trinity Street Theatre

October 8-24

Running Time: 2 hours, with one 15 minute intermission

Tickets: $15 - $25 citytheatreaustin.org


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