Don’t Be Afraid To Go Into The Theatre
Reviewed by Don Gibson
June 29, 2014
Before I start, it is full disclosure time. One of my all-time favorite movies is Jaws. The 1975 blockbuster has stood the test of time as being one of the most terrifying movies in cinema history. So I was a little unsure about dipping my toes in the waters of Mosley’s current show “Jaws: the Melodrama” or “Just Bite Me”. But I jumped right in and had a frighteningly good time.
Much like the movie, the melodrama opens with a pretty (?) young (?) girl (?) going into the water for a swim and being attacked by the villain – a great white shark, played by…well, a great white shark. The hero, Sheriff Brody of Haysville, played by Ted Dvorak in his melodrama debut, wants to shut down the Arkansas River when the gruesome discovery is made. He is rebuffed by Haysville Mayor (Tom Frye) who is afraid such action will have a negative effect on his town. But when another victim is claimed, something must be done. And that is when the fun begins, buoyed by the talented cast.
Briley Meek plays Scoop Addison, a perky and pesky reporter from the Wichita Beagle who dives in to get the story. Jenny Mitchell portrays the Sheriffs’ doting and drunk Aunt Randy. Matt Hooper, played by Steve Hitchcock, is from the Oceanographic Institute of Kechi and is brought in for his expertise (?). Kyle Vespestad is Quinn, a crusty old sea dog who convinces the troupe to allow him to seek and destroy the villainous shark using his dinghy.
Intertwined throughout the dramatic chase are hilarious song and dance numbers paying homage to Gilligan’s Island (complete with appearances by Gilligan, the Skipper, too, the Millionaire and his wife. The Movie Star, the Professor and Mary Ann), as well as Vespestad, in full crab attire, leading the cast in an entertaining “Under The Sea” production.
If you have seen the movie, and who hasn’t, you can guess how the story ends. But Mosley’s production is a real fun ‘Chomp Romp’ and should not be missed.
After a brief intermission, the slapstick continues with a musical olio featuring the “Hits of the Summer.” You do not want to miss the men’s synchronized swimming team, complete with dives, pirouettes, and a missing pair of swim trunks. The Mosley Top 10 List, a regular feature, will change your mind about going to a nude beach. And the willing audience members who participate in a dance off to “Greased Lightning” prove once again that the dancing should be left up to the professionals. But what a treat!
Outstanding vocal numbers highlight the evening. Ted Dvorak again shines, lending his operatic voice to the hit “Summertime” from Porgy & Bess. Steve Hitchcock goes into the audience to seduce the female members with “My Kind of Night,” while Kyle Vespestad is busy looking for ticks in people’s hair while singing the Brad Paisley hit. Briley Meek and Jenny Mitchell have fun poking fun at the guys in the audience while singing “Vacation” and Mitchell also nails her “Barracuda” solo. Meek struts her stuff singing “California Girls” while accompanied by a rapping Tom Frye (Snoop Puppy?). The men send out good vibrations in a medley of Beach Boys tunes. And even accompanist Tony Harshbarger gets into the act, showing off his talents with the fast paced “Johnny B. Goode.”
Please do not be afraid to go into the water (or theatre in this case) to see this funny show. Kudos to all involved in putting on a great evening of entertainment. And the next time I sit down to watch the movie Jaws, I won’t be afraid of dying if I go into the water. I’ll just remember how much fun “Jaws: the Melodrama” was. I might die laughing.