BWW Review: THE SPITFIRE GRILL at Palm Beach Dramaworks
Palm Beach Dramaworks does not disappoint with their decision to add a musical to their regular subscription season. "The Spitfire Grill" by James Valcq (Book and Music) and Fred Alley (Book and Lyrics) and based on the film by Lee David Zlotoff, in short, is a hit. Fitting in perfectly with their mission of 'Theatre To Think About', this realistic and grounded show is so engaging that it's impossible to keep your own emotions in check. Centering on the themes of change, new beginnings, incorrect impressions, and relationships; the character dynamics challenge the audience to reflect on how they treat others. The gorgeous musical score performed live on stage by a multi-talented group of musicians under the direction of Joshua Lubben changed along with the mood of the characters and also whimsically enhanced their gestures.
Scenic and lighting designer Paul Black managed to purpose every single inch of the playing space transporting the audience from Percy in prison, to the Spitfire Grill (which changed in appearance along with the characters and music), to a glorious image of fall trees. Director Bruce Linser seamlessly integrated song into the storytelling, and highlighted each character as both a separate entity and as part of their small community of Gilead, Wisconsin. The story itself is inherently a heartwarming one, but has plenty of shocking speed bumps that keep the audience gripping their seats and drying their eyes. Actress Ashley Rose breathes reality into the show through her portrayal of the flawed Percy Talbott. Elizabeth Dimon's performance as Hannah, the owner of the Spitfire Grill, kept the show rooted. Shelby was the character who demonstrated the most growth, by instilling a message of female rights, well played by Amy Miller Brennan. Blake Price's charming take on Sheriff Joe Sutter provided an alternate point of view on mankind from Johnbarry Green's Caleb Thorpe who steadfastly bossed his wife Shelby around. Patti Gardner's comedic portrayal of Effy provided well timed relief while representing that even a community member can be an outsider. You will have to go see David A. Hyland's mysterious character for yourself. Great news..."The Spitfire Grill" has been extended through March 3, 2019!
Palm Beach Dramaworks is a non-profit, professional theatre and is a member of the Theatre Communications Group, the South Florida Theatre League, Florida Professional Theatres Association, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.
Evening performances are Wednesday, Thursday, and select Sundays at 7:30PM, and Friday and Saturday at 8PM. Matinee performances are Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2PM. Post-performance discussions follow Wednesday matinee and Sunday evening performances. Individual tickets are $75, with specially priced preview tickets at $55 and Opening Night tickets at $90. Student tickets are available for $15, and Pay Your Age tickets are available for those 18-40. Tickets for educators are half price with proper ID (other restrictions apply). Group rates for 20 or more and discounted season subscriptions are also available.
The Don & Ann Brown Theatre is located in the heart of downtown West Palm Beach, at 201 Clematis Street. For ticket information contact the box office at (561) 514-4042, or visit www.palmbeachdramaworks.org .
Photo Credit: Alicia Donelan