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A REVIEW: Yelm community talent brilliantly showcased –
Triad Arts Theater hosts SRO’s “The Importance of Being Earnest”

Photo courtesy: The Triad Arts Theater


– Community Theater performances in Yelm, Weekends Feb 26th-Mar 13th:
Standing Room Only is back with Oscar Wilde’s classic “The Importance of Being Earnest”!
In this hilarious comedy, pandemonium ensues when a duplicitous duo of wealthy playboys find themselves together, both masquerading as the same person, with each wooing a different woman. All amid a flurry of mistaken identity, witty banter and cucumber sandwiches!”
The Importance of Being Earnest” was one of Wilde’s more famous works, first being performed 121 years ago this month (February 14, 1895) in London.

I attended this play in Yelm Saturday evening, February 27th, the 2nd public performance,
delighted by the welcome from play-writer Oscar Wilde performed by SRO veteran Jesse Geray, on-stage with a new, artistic set design. He also had the role of Rev. Canon Chasuble, both parts admirably performed by Geray. I am always amazed at how SRO’s Director Nancy Tribush Hillman, Producer Dave Champagne, Technical Director Dawn Young and their team turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse with their small stage spaces and props utilization. The costumes adorned by the cast and house staff serving the public were very noticeable in their splendor and colorful designs. And the program quality has improved immensely.

– The Yelm Performance:
This play had nine characters (two of them being twins played here by the same cast member) and the script was very dialogue-heavy and labor-intensive for 2 of the cast, Kevin McManus and Daniel Wyman. This show marks McManus’s return to the stage after a five year hiatus, and afterwards, I welcomed him back and congratulated his spectacular performance, especially of note were the subtleties and nuances of his British accent, facial expressions, stances, and his own piano-playing by his character, Algernon. McManus is well-know from his past performances spanning more than a decade at Yelm’s Drew Harvey Theater and Olympia’s Harlequin Productions and Capital Playhouse. He is so comfortable on-stage, that even in this challenging role, his manner seemed so at ease adding to this outstanding performance. I am always eager to attend shows with McManus, to be pleasantly surprised at what this fine actor brings to the depth of his characters. I am so glad that Kevin has returned to the Yelm stage and in such a terrific role to highlight the breadth and scope of his talents! I hope we see him again soon.

The other difficult role was that of character Jack Worthing, played by the consummate thespian Daniel Wyman. I continue to be impressed with the challenges Daniel is willing to take-on to expand himself on-stage. He was easily able to create a distinct presence alongside a very strong McManus and brought a continuity to every scene in which he performed. Daniel has always proven himself up to the task of presenting solid performances alongside the commanding Champagne, and now McManus. BRAVO, Daniel!

Of course Producer Dave Champagne, also had a role that stretched him as well, playing the character of Lady Bracknell, a woman and an ultraconservative British aristocrat. This play has had a long tradition of male actors playing Lady Bracknell and Champagne did not disappoint. His first time playing a woman, his accent and intonations were superb and one could not help but note he had to reign-in his belting voice for this role. Listening to and watching Champagne’s skills in capturing this character had me comparing him to Nathan Lane’s performance in The Bird Cage, which I shared with his mother who was in-audience – yes, he was that good!

With such on-stage expertise, I was particularly observing Victoria Austin and Cori Adell Olson, who had unique parts requiring that they arise to the level of McManus, Wyman and Champagne. While this was my first time seeing their acting, I was duly impressed with their command of their characters and in adding to all of the powerhouse performances. They were terrific! Rounding-out the rest of the cast was an SRO first-time performer Yvette O’Keefe, who seemed very comfortable in adding a stage performance to her behind-the-scenes work at The Triad Theater. I look forward to seeing more of her on-stage work. Nathan Hizey played the two twin servant characters superbly. And last, I’d like to recognize Stage Manager Guy Simpson III, who had his hands filled with three scenes, two intermissions, and various complicated set changes.


“​I am so proud of the collaborative work and creation in this production, it is the beginnings of something truly Great!” quoting Technical Director Dawn ​​Young.

– Community theater at it’s best, starring our friends and neighbors:
Victoria Austin, Dave Champagne, Jesse Geray, Nathan Hizey, Kevin McManus, Yvette O’Keefe, Cori Adell Olson, & Daniel Wyman.

The Triad Theater in Yelm
102 SE Yelm Ave
Yelm, WA 98597
(360) 458-3140
Click here to see showtimes and purchase tickets.
Get ’em before they’re gone!
Tickets also available for purchase in advance at the Yelm Food Co-op.

Posted by Steve on February 28, 2016 at 12:08 am | Permalink

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