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Review: THE AUDIENCE at Creekside Theatre Fest is Riveting

THE AUDIENCE plays through June 25, 2022.

The Creekside Theatre Fest production of THE AUDIENCE at Liahona Preparatory Academy in Pleasant Grove is riveting in its portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II's reign.

THE AUDIENCE is a Tony Award-winning drama by Peter Morgan, the creator of THE CROWN. Each week since the Queen's accession to the throne in 1952, she has met with the current prime minister to discuss the current happenings in the British government. This play offers scattered snapshots of these conversations from throughout the years, which coalesce to paint a striking picture of Elizabeth as both a monarch and a person.

Venerable Utah actor Jayne Luke headlines the production as Queen Elizabeth, transitioning effortlessly and skillfully from aged to young and back again but always exuding the indomitable spirit of Her Majesty.

The parade of prime ministers is populated by veteran actors who all impressively inhabit their roles with unique personalities and intriguing conversation. These include Mark Pulham as Harold Wilson, Ron Fredrickson as Winston Churchill, Marilee VanWagenen as Margaret Thatcher, Brian Hadfield as Gordon Brown, Kevin Halladay as Anthony Eden, Brian Johnson as David Cameron, and Steve Williams as John Major.

Additional cast members include Melany Wilkins, Jane Wilkins, Trystyn Roberts, Cole Driggs, Barak Davis, and Canon Hadfield.

As a whole, the acting is at a much higher level than a typical community theatre production with high caliber, thoroughly enjoyable performances.

The costumes by Katrina DeKarver and Brooklyn Cordner are remarkably efficient and suggestive of specific moments in time across the decades-long sweep of the play. The wigs by Krissa Lent are also vital to the storytelling.

The attractive yet blank slate of Brian Hadfield's set design provides a canvas for Gabi Pack's appealing lighting design and the fascinating history to unfold.

THE AUDIENCE plays through June 25, 2022. Other shows in repertory through the following week include A DOLL'S HOUSE, AS YOU LIKE IT, TUCK EVERLASTING, and staged readings. For the schedule and tickets, visit www.creeksidetheatrefest.org.

Photo Credit: L-R Jayne Luke (Elizabeth II) and Marilee VanWagenen (Margaret Thatcher). Courtesy of Creekside Theatre Fest.



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