‘Thunderbolts’ tickles funny bone

  • Wed Feb 1st, 2012 6:39pm
  • Life

By Theresa Goffredo Herald Writer

“Thunderbolts and Dunderheads”: Nothing says it’s time to party like a toga. Remember “Animal House”?

In “Thunderbolts and Dunderheads,” this toga party takes place way farther back in time, back to the mythical days of gods and goddesses.

Canadian playwright Todd McGuiness puts this highly physical comedy atop Mount Olympus when Zeus was the king of the gods.

Zeus is kind of the bad boy in this story because he wants to make time with the Valkyrie and he wants the perky Iris, the goddess of rainbows, to help him seduce her.

If Iris doesn’t take on these “additional duties,” she’s going to find herself downsized, said Jay Irwin, who is directing this comedy for The Phoenix Theatre.

Irwin said he has been wanting to perform “Thunderbolts” for years and he pitched the idea to the Phoenix because the play is well-written and hilarious and maybe because of the whole toga thing.

“I’m all for togas,” Irwin said. “And the cast is loving it.”

The play provides a little bit of personal growth for Zeus in the end, along with lots of physical comedy in true farce fashion, Irwin said.

“There are sword fights and some flinging arrows, maybe a thunderbolt or two and people crawling over each other — lots of fun stuff,” Irwin said. “It should be a very good time.”

“Thunderbolts and Dunderheads” opens at 8 tonight at The Phoenix, 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds. Shows are 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday through Feb. 26.

Tickets are $18.20 and $15.50. Call 206-533-2000 or online at brownpapertickets.com.

“Oklahoma!”: The 5th Avenue Theatre revives this classic bit of musical Americana, making it more relevant with a deeper exploration on the topics of race and the future of a growing young nation filled with all sorts of possibility.

The framework of the musical is based on a love story between cowboy Curly McLain and farm girl Laurey Williams, played against a backdrop of Rodgers and Hammerstein timeless favorites, such as “Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin’,” “I Can’t Say No,” “People will Say We’re in Love” and “Oklahoma!”

Though this production will honor the main premise of this show as a part of American culture, the 5th Avenue team will approach the script as though “it is the first time anyone has seen it,” artistic director David Armstrong said.

To that end, the show will put a finer point on the state of race in America in Oklahoma Territory in 1906 where there lived one of the largest populations of free blacks. The 5th Avenue Theatre production will feature an interracial cast, including black performer Kyle Scatliffe as Jud Fry, Armstrong said.

“Oklahoma!” opens with previews at 8 tonight at The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave., Seattle. Shows are at various times through March 4.

Tickets start at $29. Call 206-625-1900 or go to www.5thavenue.org.

“Tartuffe”: Taproot Theatre presents this famous farce by Moliere with imposter Tartuffe setting the stage for a plot that could be ripped from today’s headlines, or a Saturday night comedy show.

Tartuffe is a con artist extraordinaire who oozes piety and charm. He’s the star of this cautionary tale told with lightning-quick wit, some star-crossed lovers and a badgering grandma, according to press material.

Moliere is translated into English verse by Richard Wilbur.

“Tartuffe” will be performed at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday through Thursday, 8 p.m. Friday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday through March 3 at Taproot Theatre Company, 204 N 85th St., Seattle.

Tickets start at $29. Call 206-781-9707 or online at www.taproottheatre.org.

Theresa Goffredo: 425-339-3424; goffredo@heraldnet.com