By Paul Broderson
If one is looking for an evening of entertainment and wishes to journey on a humorous escape from reality, it is highly recommended that you attend the play "The Pink Panther Strikes Again." Directed by DJ Rotach, this play meets and exceeds every expectation for a comedy production. Viewers will leave VPA smiling and quoting lines from the play, already reminiscing. The acting is great, the stage setting has intriguing, eye-catching elements to it, and the directing isboth smooth and creative.
Since VPA is a local, non-profit organization, viewers might think to expect somewhat amateur acting to be found there - not so with The Pink Panther Strikes Again. While some of the more minor roles are acted out with slightly stilted performances, all of the actors playing the main roles are spot on. “Chief inspector Clouseau’s” (played by Ted Carney) bumbling actions and hilarious accent will have viewers rolling in their seats, demanding more. Carney has a positive energy onstage that seems to allow his fellow actors and actresses to loosen up and fulfill their roles all the better when they are around him. Ronald Dennison (who plays the villain “Dreyfus”) does a wonderful job as well. Striding around the stage with his thick mane of hair flying, Dennisonsays his lines with such enthusiasm and timing that one would never guess this is his first performance. Another newcomer is Erin Carney, playing the seductive spy “Olga”. She does a lovely job of it, with a great accent and beautifully timed lines. All of the other actors and actresses give solid performances overall, with the only slip ups happening when they started to laugh at something that was said, but who can blame them?
The stage fit the pink panther theme to a T. The painters did a great job with the floor and the backdrops and one could tell a lot of effort was put into it with good effect. But the best part of it all was the double rotating stages. In between or during scenes, the stages could be flipped completely around to change the setting entirely, giving the production a lively, seamless feel to it. The lighting crew did a solid job, one example being the use of an eerie green glow appearing whenever the Doomsday Machine is present.
For his first directing of a play, it is obvious that DJ Rotach is a natural. During the whole of the production, the plot flowed smoothly and without a hitch. The way Rotach sets up some of the scenes is creative and hilarious and one could tell that it must have been a lot of fun to be part of the making of this production. Rotach employs everything from slow-motion scenes to cross-dressing singers to… the rest is a surprise.
The Pink Panther Strikes Againis playing through September 23rd, so don’t miss out! Located at Valley Performing Arts in Wasilla, it is a truly wonderful show. The enthusiasm of the actors and wonderfully humorous storyline (combined with everything else mentioned above) make this a very worthy play to see. The parking lot will undoubtedly be full so try and arrive early. Tickets can be purchased through VPA’s website or at the door.
Paul Broderson is a student at Mat-Su College where he writes for the Mat-Su Monitor.