Solana Beach, CA—It’s hard to believe that North Coast Repertory Theatre will be celebrating its thirtieth anniversary season in September. Over the years, yours truly has watched this little theatre grow from a corner suite in the Lomas Santa Fe Shopping Center to its current location in a larger, more accessible space. With artistic director David Ellenstein at the helm, NCR’s seasons, for the most part have been varied and well done even sneaking in late night entertainment for those looking for something a little different.
With season thirty closing in, season twenty-nine is coming to an end with the hilarious San Diego Premiere of Gregg Coffin’s musical comedy, Five Course Love.
Director Rick Simas, the very same Simas who directed the extremely popular 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee also at NCR, is back at it again with an equally talented cast of three actors who, rather than compete for the spelling trophy at Putnam County, seem to be in a marathon race (about every 15 minutes) to put on five hilarious vignettes, all taking place at different restaurants and hoping to come out with the right costumes, wigs (Renetta Lloyd and Peter Herman, wigs) and accents for the restaurant locals. (Marty Burnett)
This ninety-minute race to the top has Kevin B. McGlynn (Actor 1), Kristen Mengelkoch, (Actor 2) and Omri Shein (Actor 3) playing all fifteen characters. They not only sing and dance, change accents on a dime, are in every single scene playing a different character but they manage to do it all with a straight face, pizzazz and entertain at the same time. Some trick, that!
Deans Texas Barbeque where the all you can eat menu is in the shape of a six shooter and George Bushes’ poster is on the wall to La Trattoria Pericolo which is run by the mob and has a little shoot ‘um up business going on, to Der Schlupfwinkel Speisplatz where German sausage, Cabaret and dominatrix are high up on the menu, to Ernesto’s Cantina and The Starlight Diner, a 50’s diner where the story (and I use the word loosely) comes full circle and are all included in this five course love musical. Nothing a la carte here.
All I can say is the shticks and fetes they perform, most having to do with some sort of romance gone awry (that would be between Mengelkoch and McGlynn) and one wait person running interference (that would be Schein) are a laugh a minute. Silly? Sure! But don’t underestimate the power of that silliness. Underneath it all are three very funny and talented actors.
All five scenarios or mini operettas consist of one protagonist, one antagonist and a waiter involved in some sorted romantic conflict. I can’t tell you which of the three is the funniest but Omri Schein tickled my funny bone the most. Kristen Mengelkoch worked miracles with her fast character changes. Each one of her character is distinctive and demanding. She is simply outstanding and deserves kudos. Kevin B. McGlynn, who was seen in Forbidden Broadway at the then Theatre in Old Town, carries the weight of the heavy in three of the five vignettes. He opens the show with what looks to be a forlorn, jilted bore but wraps it up neatly at plays end. He has a powerful voice and a very winning way. And, he is one big guy!
In the background, musical director Steven Withers on keyboard, Jon Wat on Bass and Tom Versen on Percussion moved the musical numbers along perfectly. Mary Burnett’s versatile set design is right on target for every location and Matt Novotny’s lighting design with John Klicman’s sound design all contribute to a fun for all evening.
What a way to finish a season.
See you at the theatre.
Dates: through Aug. 14th
Organization: North Coast Repertory Theatre
Production Type: Comedy
Where: 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Suite D, 92057
Ticket Prices: $30.00-$47.00
Venue: North Coast Repertory Theatre