Hilarity & Mayhem in Black Comedy and Spamalot! - TribPapers

Hilarity & Mayhem in Black Comedy and Spamalot!

Black Comedy Photo by Cheyenne Dancy

Asheville – Peter Shaffer’s 1965 farce, Black Comedy, is a play like no other I’ve ever seen! The “black” refers to the unique spin of the setting. The show takes place almost entirely “in the dark.”

Since that would make it difficult to see this Parkway Playhouse production, the lighting design (by the incomparable Abby Auman) is reversed. The very few scenes where the characters would be in a fully lit room are performed on a completely dark stage, and those scenes “in the dark” have all the lighting of a regular show.

Black Comedy Photo by Cheyenne Dancy
Black Comedy Photo by Cheyenne Dancy

The main ensemble cast of Adam Arthur, Leif Brodersen, Christy Montesdeoca, Mikhale Sherrill, Jered Shults, and Trinity Smith-Keel handle acting as if they are “in total blackness while actually being able to see everything” brilliantly. The entire show highlights the physical comedy skills of each actor, and those skills are most certainly put to the test.

From larger bits (like running into objects or tripping) to one character’s journey into intoxication and another’s slowly building fury, the physicality is always sure to elicit hearty laughter from the audience.

Director Jeff Catanese and set designer Carew Henry crafted and utilized a space that offered a plethora of hazards and near-misses without being expected or overwhelming.

While this is a classic farce, the script is also driven by snappy “1960s London” dialogue. The posh dialect, coupled with McKinney Gough’s wonderfully vintage-looking costumes, dropped me right into that world and kept me there throughout the night.

While this may not be a play that the general public is familiar with, the theater world has been buzzing with excited anticipation since Parkway Playhouse first announced it would be doing it this season. If you want to laugh loudly and be wildly impressed by this skilled and talented cast and crew, get your tickets now!

Black Comedy runs through September 3rd, with Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 3:00 p.m.

Fans of Monty Python will be thrilled to learn that Spamalot is now at HART Theatre in Waynesville, NC.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail

This Broadway show is a musical version of the iconic film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which tells the satirical tale of King Arthur and his “Knights of the Round Table.”

With over 20 cast members, most playing multiple roles, this production is non-stop singing, dancing, slapstick, parody, farce, witty dialogue, and truly unique characters.

The large ensemble cast is hilariously led by Matthew Edwardsen, Morgan Miller, and Pasquale LaCorte, each deftly commanding the chaos surrounding them.
Director/set designer Dominic Michael Aquilino and costumer Nancy Gamon cultivated an Arthurian atmosphere while still making it easy to transition from one strange and ridiculous setting to another.

The myriad of dance styles and numbers were masterfully choreographed by Jason Aycock and artfully executed by the cast.

As someone who can quote Monty Python and the Holy Grail, I loved every moment of this show. The person next to me on opening night had never seen anything by the British theater troupe but told me they were drawn in by the description on the website. Given that their laughter was just as loud and frequent as mine, I think I can safely say they are now a fan of the genre.

While I don’t ever give spoilers, I will offer one warning before you go. When purchasing your tickets, keep in mind that the first several rows are designated a “splash zone.” It is entirely possible you will get wet, although not soaked.

Monty Python’s Spamalot is at HART Theatre through September 17th, with Friday and Saturday shows at 7:30 p.m., Sunday matinees at 2:00 p.m., and one Thursday night performance on September 14th.