Mosley Street Melodrama: A Feast of Food, Fun and Entertainment
Reviewed by Don Gibson
May 1, 2014
I recently walked around Old Town one evening, looking for a place to eat. I came upon Mosley Street Melodrama. As a theatre buff, my curiosity got the best of me and I went in. Instead of the simple meal I was looking for, I got a three-course feast of food, fun and entertainment with a few surprises sprinkled in the mix.
My first impression of the theater was it was intimate and well organized. Every table and seat had good views of the stage. The appetizer for my evening ‘feast’ was the pre-show meal of melt-in-your-mouth barbeque selections and side dishes served buffet-style. The food was delicious and plenty and the wait staff were courteous and attentive. But my feast had only begun.
The main course was Reno County 911: The Adventures of Starsky and Hutchinson, a clever and witty melodrama written by local radio personality Carol Hughes. The Hero, Officer Starsky (played by Steve Hitchcock) and his partner Officer Hutchinson (played by John Bates) are a clumsy and confused duo who eventually stumbles their way to bring justice to the bad guys. In this case, the bad guys are con artists. The Villian, Officer Dinkell (played by Kyle Vespestad), his sidekick Vamp, Sue Ella Seville (played by Briley Meek), go from town to town, taking innocent people’s money before moving on. Rounding out the talented and hilarious cast is the Heroine, Mary Kate (played by Meg Parsley) and her sister Ashley (played by Jenny Mitchell). They are two innocent twins (?) trying to raise money with bake sales to start their own clothing business.
The real fun of a melodrama is its unpredictability from performance to performance, depending on the antics of the actors, their ability to ad-lib and interact with audience members, and the participation of the audience itself. Mosley Street Melodrama encourages this and it excels at this as well. A scene where Mary Kate and Ashley are being interrogated by Officer Dinkell, and a dance scene during the Policeman’s Ball are among the many laugh-out-loud moments. I laughed so hard throughout the show, I am sure I burned all the calories I had just inhaled during the meal. And the actors seem to enjoy themselves, often cracking up at each other’s antics. I won’t give away the ending, as I am sure it ends the same way each performance. But I am sure I could see the same show multiple times and each performance would be a little different. And hilarious.
After a brief intermission, the final course of my ‘feast’ was “Today’s Top 40” Musical Comedy Revue. What a treat! The same actors who made me laugh so hard mesmerized me with their vocal talents and performances. The girls came out in costumes loosely based on the acts of today, like Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, while the guys were Justin Bieber and Robin Thicke wannabe’s. All the actors were able to highlight their singing talents either as a solo or in a group. Meg Parsley is hilarious as she sings “Call Me Maybe” while walking through thePage 2 audience passing out business cards with her “number” on it. A lap dance is even in the offing for one audience member during Steve Hitchcock’s performance of Bruno Mars’ “Treasure”. John Bates and the guys thrill the young women (and older women) in the audience with One Directions’ “What Makes You Beautiful.” Briley Meek finds a way to outdo Miley Cyrus with her rendition of “Wrecking Ball”. And Jenny Mitchell? Wow! I was blown away with her singing of “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry.
Mixed in with vocal performances were multiple jokes (even the not-so-funny ones were made funny), and Top 10, and a contest where several audience members come on stage to do battle with cast members in what they called “So You Think You Can Lip-Sync?” And if you don’t know what a fox says, you will after enjoying Kyle Vespestad and the crew hip-hopping their way through the popular song.
I encourage you to go see this production. It is unlike anything you will see in this area. Kudos to Cindy Summers for her direction, Carol Hughes for a wonderful script (don’t quit your day job, Carol, and especially don’t stop writing melodramas), and to a wonderful and talented cast. I will be back. Many times. And I hope to share my thoughts with you,
That night I went looking for a meal. I ended up getting a treat! And to sum up my evening in one word … delicious!