By Beki Pineda
Photo Credit: Lone Tree Arts Center
THE EXPLORERS CLUB. Written by Nell Benjamin; directed by Randal Myler. Produced by the Lone Tree Arts Center (10075 Commons St., Lone Tree) through Oct. 24. Tickets available at 720-509-1000 or www.lonetreeartscenter.org.
While understanding the economic reasons for them, I hate two-week runs. Even if a reviewer sees the show on opening night, she has such a small window to get something submitted and posted in time for people to be clued to a show they would enjoy. Such is the case with THE EXPLORERS CLUB. So once again, I praise a show that you have only one more weekend to catch. Lone Tree seems a long haul for Boulder County theater lovers, but going down to Golden the back way and catching C-470 to Lincoln makes it an easy drive. This charming show is certainly worth the effort.
A production full of DCPA alumni feels like going to a party with old friends. The local cast features seven actors who have appeared at the Center and two who should have by now. The group was directed by Randal Myler, who has directed all over the country as well as years at the Denver Center. The show is stage managed by Lyle Raper, costumed by Kevin Copenhaver with a sound design by Brian Freeland, all Center alumni as well. So it is no surprise that the production has the slick, sharp look and feel of a Center show.
A delightful script (I hope someone else locally picks up on this playwright and brings more of her shows to town) full of developed inside jokes and fully realized characters is brought to life by an amazingly talented cast. What more could you ask for? The famed Explorers Club—which sponsors searches for lost civilizations and unknown locations—must decide whether or not to admit its first female member. Phyllida has discovered a lost city and to prove it, she has brought a blue-painted native (Christopher Joel Onken) called Luigi (the name is explained in the show) back with her. Members Lucius (Sam Gregory), a botanist who has a crush on her, and explorer Percy (Mark Rubald), who challenges Lucius for her affections, are in favor of the move. Professor Sloan (Randy Moore at his priggish best) votes no. Fellow members Professor Cope (Rob Costigan) with his pet snake and Professor Walling (Brad Bellamy) wait to be convinced. In a convoluted story line that involves charades, a pet gerbil, a plant that grows faster than Audrey II in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, an absent bartender named Roger and an Irish hat rack, you will be amazed and amused. They have perfected a bit in the serving of their drinks that will have you gasping with surprise.
The trip to Lone Tree is worth it just to take a look at the gorgeously sumptuous and ornate set scenic designer Michael Duran and prop designer Rob Costigan (doing double duty) put together. The Grand Room and Bar of the Explorers Club is laden with the souvenirs of their travels, including stuffed trophies. Rich in detail, authentic in style, it provided an excellent setting for this talented troupe of explorers.
So this is a Run-Don’t-Walk to get a ticket for this last weekend.
WOW factor: 9.5