This show puts to shame anyone who ever lowers expectations for local theatrical endeavors by calling it “just community theatre.”
Director D. Scott Robinson has created a top quality production at Buck Creek without exception. Robinson’s choreography also left little to be desired, accompanying the music with energetic and humorous dancing all the way through and displaying an adept knowledge of how to use a playing space to its fullest potential.
Now, there are times, if not being the standard, that restraint is necessary to properly allow the subtlety required to appropriately inhabit a character—but this is not the case with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling. Sometimes a show must be a cartoon, and that is how the characters are rightly portrayed, with magnificent displays of mugging, exaggerated posture, and general spasticity. Additionally, Aaron B. Biley’s set whimsically reflects this warped sense of being without being too far out. Actually, while somewhat outlandish, it is darn near of professional merit. The same applies to the orchestra and Matthew Konrad Tippel’s musical direction—frequently it is impossible to find good musicians willing to volunteer for a local show, but everything sounded rich, well rehearsed, and sharply executed.
Finally, I must stress the cohesive strength of the cast. Not a single player outshone anyone else; all equally performed their hearts out and had the crowd laughing our butts off. The only thing I would suggest is for the house staff to double check the staggering of the seats in the audience; my guest and I found ourselves sitting at opposing forty-five and one hundred thirty-five degree angles to see past the heads in front of us. Please make your way to the little theater just southeast of the city for this one—you’ll be glad you did.