Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

BWW Reviews: Take a Road Trip to Sweet Hilarity in Book-It's THE DOG OF THE SOUTH

Jim Gall and Christopher Morson in
Book-It's The Dog of the South
Photo credit: John Ulman

Buckle your seat belts as Book-It Repertory Theatre is about to take you to funnytown with the world premiere of their adaptation of Charles Portis's "The Dog of the South". And with its stellar cast and charm and sweetness for days, this is one road trip you don't want to miss.

Best known as the author of "True Grit", Portis takes us on the quest of Ray Midge (Christopher Morson), a meek and quiet little man who's perfectly content with his life of books and studying. But when his wife Norma (Shannon Loys) runs off with his best friend Dupree (Joshua C. Williamson) along with Midge's credit cards and his beloved Ford Torino he sets off on a mission to track them down and get back what matters to him most, his car (and maybe Norma too). Midge tracks them using his credit card statements from Arkansas all the way down to British Honduras and along the way meets several crazy characters including the conning Dr. Reo Symes (Jim Gall) who has his own ulterior motives for wanting to get down south and find his mother (Suzy Hunt).

Director Jane Jones has taken Judd Parkin's adaptation and infused it with a breakneck pace. The dialog and action just kind of bulldozes through making the hilarious antics even more fun. Plus Jones has managed to take on the myriad locales of the piece with minimal sets using some wonderfully innovative staging. The set from Christopher Mumaw switches from Arkansas home to Mexican cantina to church at the drop of a hat with never a lag in the pacing. Jones even manages to portray some alligator wrestling on stage which is a thing of beauty.

Loys and Williamson make for wonderfully ridiculous adversaries to the meek Midge and only make him more likable with their horrible behavior. Hunt is gut bustlingly funny as the overly devout Mrs. Symes along with Gin Hammond as Melba, Mrs. Symes constantly eating companion. And Gall takes blustering con man to a whole new level as he bullies and manipulates his way through every scene with marvelous effect. But it's Morson who is truly outstanding here. He's adorable, engaging and charming with tons of stage presence which is a good thing since he carries about 90% of the show rarely leaving stage. Not only does he manage to make the meek yet obsessed Midge hilarious yet completely sympathetic (even through many not so great decisions) but he manages a subtle arc for the character which lets him grow while putting him right back where he wanted to be to begin with.

But of course much of the love for this piece has to go to Portis and his unknown gem which makes for quite a ride. With my three letter rating system I give this a resounding YAY. This is definitely one you'll want to catch.

"The Dog of the South" from Book-It Repertory Theatre performs at the Center Theatre at the Armory through March 8th. For tickets or information contact the Book-It box office at 206-216-0833 or visit them online at

A new work by ACT Theatre and the Hansberry Project, HISTORY OF THEATRE: ABOUT, BY, FOR, and NEAR will take you on a journey through time and space to meet the people who forged the foundations for Blacks in theater. The show dispels myths about minstrelsy, delves into the hows and whys of black face, and covers key players of early theater in America. Unheard voices are released, forgotten stars are remembered, and a rich legacy is revealed.

Acclaimed Filmmaker Roya Sadat Directs World Premiere of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS at Seatt Photo
When acclaimed Afghan filmmaker Roya Sadat agreed to direct the operatic premiere of A Thousand Splendid Suns, the challenges encountered by the story's Mariam and Laila, two women brought together under brutal Taliban rule, were a reminder of a traumatic period in Afghanistan's history.

Review: METAMORPHOSES at Seattle Repertory Theatre Photo
Compelling storytelling is the focus of METAMORPHOSES at Seattle Rep. Every choice is made with intention, and every facet of the show is a work of collaboration. The gods, the humans, and the demigods are all shown to have strengths and weaknesses. With stories that reach back into the eons of the past, METAMORPHOSES leads you to laugh, to hurt, and to reflect on what it means to be human.

Village Theatre Presents MISS STEP This Month Photo
Village Theatre today announced its latest Village Originals Beta Production MISS STEP, a fun new musical comedy by Kit Yan and Melissa Li, the creative minds behind the musical Interstate. Set in the rollicking 80s, this heartfelt story follows Pam Carter, an unremarkable trans woman working as a toll collector on the New Jersey turnpike.

From This Author - Jay Irwin

         Born and raised in Seattle, WA, Jay has been a theater geek for years.  He attends as many shows as he can around the country and loves taking in new exciting... (read more about this author)

Review: BECOMING OTHELLO: A BLACK GIRL'S JOURNEY at Seattle Shakespeare CompanyReview: BECOMING OTHELLO: A BLACK GIRL'S JOURNEY at Seattle Shakespeare Company
January 7, 2023

Dear Readers, you know I find one person shows to be problematic. Often, they get into maudlin territories and end up being someone else’s therapy on stage. So, I was dubious when Seattle Shakespeare Company announced Debra Ann Byrd’s one woman show “Becoming Othello: A Black Girl’s Journey” to start off their 2023. As Byrd stepped onto stage at the Center Theatre, I took it as a good sign that we didn’t get the cliché, “Oh, I didn’t see you there” as if we’d intruded on her private moments. Instead, we got not words but song and movement offering up prayers to her ancestors who got her to where she is today. And then what followed was 90 minutes of a raw, well-paced, well-constructed look into this amazing woman who broke down the barriers erected in front of her by centuries of selfish oppression. Also, what followed was a hell of a way to start off 2023.

January 6, 2023

Dear Readers, I don’t need to tell you, it’s been a crazy year. Many theaters just coming back to life or ramping up again post pandemic. But even with all the chaos, Seattle still comes up with some amazing shows from theaters large and small. Here’s a list of my personal picks for outstanding shows and performers from the past year, 2022.

Review: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at The Paramount TheatreReview: MOULIN ROUGE! THE MUSICAL at The Paramount Theatre
December 17, 2022

More. That, Dear Readers, is the watchword the creators of the stage adaption of the 2001 Baz Luhrmann film, “Moulin Rouge!”, subscribed to. They threw in more sparkle wherever they could in this stage musical, currently playing at the Paramount. Unfortunately, they also threw in more songs, more lights, and certainly more bass in this spectacle that loses the heart and charm of the original in favor of assaulting the audience’s senses.

Review: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre WorksReview: THE FLIGHT BEFORE XMAS from Macha Theatre Works
December 4, 2022

Dear Readers, we all know that travelling during the holidays can be a nightmare. Delayed flights, family drama, not to mention dealing with others attempting their own travels. But as frustrating as it can be, what’s not frustrating is the delightful cast of characters created by Maggie Lee in her play, “The Flight Before Xmas”. A wonderful and heartfelt diversion from the usual holiday fare currently playing at West of Lenin from Macha Theatre Works.

Review: MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL at The Seattle RepReview: MR. DICKENS AND HIS CAROL at The Seattle Rep
December 1, 2022

Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is an enduring classic. We all know this. It’s never been out of publication since its first publishing in 1843. It has spawned numerous movie, TV, and stage adaptations from the serious to the Muppets. Now the Seattle Rep has come along with a World Premiere of Samantha Silva’s “Mr. Dickens and His Carol”, based on her book of the same name. Taking a supposed look at the creation of this classic tale, this historical fiction is heavy on the fiction and light on the history, cutting a wide swath with its poetic license about the author and turning him into a pompous buffoon in a story and a production in desperate need of an editor.