BWW Review: The Phoenix Stage Company Strikes Again With Laughter In Their Production of The PINK PANTHER STRIKES AGAIN!
I recently had the pleasure of being invited to the Invited/Final Dress Rehearsal for Phoenix Stage Company's production of the laugh-out-loud riot, The Pink Panther Strikes Again adapted by William Gleason. This hysterical production was directed by Ed Bassett. Bassett wore many hats in this production also being credited in costuming (along with Lori Poulin), set design, and sound design. This clever production is a joy for all who are lucky enough to catch it.
From the moment the show begins, we are introduced to the fun and mischievous Pink Panthers who act as helping hands throughout the show whether they are moving set pieces or pulling pranks. It is a very cute addition to the show as a contrast to the traditional ninja-like run crew we are so used to in the world of theatre.
When the vengeful and psychotic former chief inspector Paul Dreyfus (played magnificently by Killian Meehan) escapes the looney bin, he tries to end the life of his dimwitted successor that drove him to this madness, Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau of the Surte (skillfully and comically brought to life by Rick Haylon). In Dreyfus's grand scheme, he kidnaps Dr. Fassbender (Mitch Freidman) and his daughter Margo (Jennifer Beverage) in an attempt to take control with Dr. Fassbender's Doomsday Machine.
Killian Meehan excels in his portrayal of the psychotic lunacy that is Paul Dreyfus. His commitment to the physical comedy and overall comedic timing is astounding. His stamina as a performer is that of a true professional. As the play continues and the insanity increases, Meehan's hair proceeded to reach new heights, literally. From the crazy hair to the crazed twitch at even his own mention of Clouseau's name, Meehan brings the crazed Former Chief Inspector to life in a joyfully disturbing performance that is surely not to be missed.
And who might portray the well-intentioned, yet misguided Clouseau? None other than the hysterical Rick Haylon. Not only does he match everyone's commitment to all physical comedic bits, but Haylon's ability to connect with his castmates and the audience is also unlike any other. It must also be noted that Haylon's dialect work indeed does the iconic and over the top Clouseau accent justice. While playing such an iconic character, Haylon still manages to keep things fresh and make the character his own. His performance goes beyond an impression.
It's shows like this that pains me that I can't talk about each individual that graced that stage. Theoretically, I could tell you about every actor, but then we'd be here for ages while I gush and in that time you could have gone to see this great show. The ensemble as a whole is so strong while taking on multiple tracks doubling as assassins, panthers, and more. Each brought a unique piece to the overall puzzle. There were so many strong choices made and everyone's strengths were displayed with taste.
Go see Phoenix Stage Company's The Pink Panther Strikes Again, now through September 21st. Don't miss it!