By Theresa Goffredo
Don’t try and make any sense out of “Kaputnik,” the comedy farce at the Phoenix Theatre. This show is complete, goofy nonsense and that’s what makes it so darn funny.
The play takes place inside of an obsolete observatory forgotten in the desert where the lead scientist and his assistant notice a strange light in the sky. This is on the evening of the launch of Sputnik.
These two scientists are then visited by three strangers in trench coats. From then on, it’s unclear who anyone really is, including the wife of the lead scientist, and the play just spins out of orbit from there into madcap slapstick comedy, sparked by zinger puns and one-liners in a fast-paced farcical frenzy that will leave your face in a fossilized smile.
“Kaputnik” is a wonderful comic surprise, like discovering there really is cheese on the moon – it’s totally absurd yet one of those twists in the story that you are willing to go along with to see where it ends. “Kaputnik” can keep you guessing but really don’t work that hard – sit back, relax and enjoy this ridiculous ride.
The ride begins with the super-voiced, super-talented David Bailey playing lead scientist Myles Stanton, who is a frenetic combination of charm, ego and wackiness.Stanton’s assistant, Blaine, is eager, nerdy and obsessed by the thought of a Martian invasion. Blaine, played perfectly by Austin Gregory, joins Stanton in one of the opening – and funniest – scenes as the two fix the telescope while the radio is playing “Catch a Falling Star” and the two are overcome and begin to sing along and dance to the music, using their tools as microphones and drumsticks.
We are then introduced to Stanton’s wife, Hali, who va-vooms her way on stage to remind Stanton that it’s the day the two of them are heading to divorce court. It becomes clear that Hali, played solidly by Laura Hanson, is having an affair with Blaine though it’s never really clear why.
Also arriving on stage are the three trench coats introduced as Mrs. Voskovec, Melanie Calderwood; Tatianna, Susan Conners and Rimsky, Asa Sholdez. These are Russian spies, no?
Well, you’ll see about that. They all three are, in fact, fine actors who kick the comedy up a notch with truth serum, more slapstick and the marvel of listening to Asa Sholdez string together lines of cascading clichés with a voice so deep and intimidating that it should have its own patent.
Thank you Eric Lewis for directing this funny show and bringing this cast together in a way that made them all sparkle like shining stars.
“Kaputnik” plays at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sundays through June 23 at the Phoenix Theatre, 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds. Tickets are $18.50 and $15.50. Call 206-533-2000 or go to http://www.phoenixtheatreedmonds.com/.