BWW Review: PETEY'S BIG ADVENTURE at Mosley Street Melodrama, A Spoof on Scooters
July 15th, 2019. A day that will live forever in Wichita history. A time when everything changed for our community, our children and recreational safety as the city introduced 'the scooter initiative.' Scattered throughout Wichita are 500 scooters available to rent for public use through the Spin App as a way to improve Wichita as a destination to live, play and travel. In Mosley Street Melodrama's current olio, however, scooters are the perfect target for Petey's Big Adventure-a spoof on comedic character Pee-Wee Herman and his escapades. Written by Carol Hughes and directed by Steve Hitchcock, Petey's Big Adventure runs from now until September 7th.
Pee-Wee Herman is best known for his Tim Burton film Pee-Wee's Big Adventure which was released in 1985. Children of the 80s can definitely remember this whacky, iconic film and the Alamo for that matter. The eccentric characters we grew fond of all make some sort of an appearance in the melodrama as well as crazy antics. Kyle Vespestad plays the Pee-Wee type character named Petey, due to copyright, who ultimately loses his scooter to villain Newman played by Monte Riegel Wheeler. Vespestad channels the personality of a five-year old in his portrayal. He is especially charming when he gets to pull up an audience member to help him write a letter about finding his scooter. He also gets to exchange the pop culture idiom "I know you are but what am I?" with Wheeler. Alongside Wheeler is Angela Geer as Nancy. The two make a great wicked pair as they steal the scooter and comedy ensues. Geer also gets double duty to play Large Marge when Petey finds trouble on his quest and it is hysterical. She has a wonderful siren cry that will leave you fooled towards the climax and revelation. Matching the screaming cry is Molly Tully as Miss Yvonne having a crush on hero Cowboy Cletus played by Sam Warner. Listen for the secret word at the top of show so you as an audience member get to scream as well. Finally, Max Wilson is Officer Fuller aiding in the search for the scooter with wonderful diction and swagger. With clever direction by Hitchcock and smooth writing by Hughes, this melodrama is both entertaining and funny.
After intermission was the Mosely Laugh-In Musical Comedy Revue. Under the musical direction of Tony Harshbarger, songs were selected having the theme of laughter and comedy. "Make 'Em Laugh" from Singin' in the Rain was an ensemble number for the cast showcasing everyone's vocals at the top of the entr'acte. There was also a painted backdrop change painted by Wheeler which was used for "Let's Make A Deal," an audience participation game based on the television game show. From politics to lawsuits, nothing was off limits for what was a fresh opening night for Mosley Street. Find your sense of humor in the dead pans of the political cocktail party and pay close attention to drummer Dan Chisham for "Here Comes the Judge." Chisham, a graduate from WSU, clearly demonstrates his professional background with the Wichita and Missouri symphonies during this drumming section. Further highlights include Tully's "He's Funny That Way." It was a terrific song choice allowing Tully to work the crowd. Cabaret style songs seem to always work and sound the best out in the house. Wilson delivered another nightclub song selection "When You're Smiling" with volume, tone, and breath control. Geer showed the same qualities with "I Only Wanna Laugh" but it was Warner and Wheeler who gave sultry ballads life. Warner sang "Laughing" by the Guess Who while Wheeler sang "Smile."
If you like the show so much, tee-shirts and cozies are available for purchase as souvenirs or for the true spirituous, a bucket of spiked juice for twenty dollars.
For their next show, Harry Squatter and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day be sure to make reservations early. It's sure to be a smash hit with writing team Ryan Schafer and Molly Tully.
What: Petey's Big Adventure
Where: Mosley Street Melodrama
When: July 19th through September 7th, Shows are Friday and Saturday at 8pm
Cost: $18-$34, dinner is provided with some ticket prices
Call 316-263-0222 for Ticket Reservations!
Left to Right: Sam Warner (Cowboy Cletus), Angela Geer (Miss Renee), Kyle Vespestad (Petey), Max Wilson (Officer Fuller), and Molly Tully (Miss Yvonne) perform in Mosley Street Melodrama's Petey's Big Adventure.