GOLD BEACH — Those who enjoy stories where people, things, and time fold in upon themselves like some kind of crazy whiplash will enjoy the Ellensburg Theater Company’s (ETC) latest offering “Who’s on First?”
The story, subtitled “A Nightmare Comedy,” written by Jack Sharkey, has nothing to do with the famous comedic baseball word-play by Abbott and Costello. Rather, the script can be compared to “Groundhog Day,” “Butterfly Effect” or “Back to the Future.”
Directed by Michael Hall, the cast of this play, from the get-go, hits the turbo thrusters and takes the audience on a no-holds-barred, fun-filled two hour romp through one particularly pesky hour — 8 p.m. — that keeps repeating itself.
A living room backdrop built by Gary and Siobhan Vila, Randy Patterson, and Michael Hall conjures up an authentic late 1960s crash pad.
The story is about highly stressed-out Don (Phil Dickson) who is concerned that his wife Alice (real wife Pamela Dickson) is having an affair with Ben (David Brock Smith). In truth, it’s really not all that Mr. Aggressive Hubby Don thinks. Completely innocent, the two have, indeed, gotten together, but with something far less sordid in mind.
Camille (Siobhan Vila) is the hostess who sees the impending train wreck coming and is trying to head it off as Don arrives first at Camille’s place to settle the score with Big Ben, who is en route with Alice. With gun drawn, and Camille freaking out, Don proceeds to rip open closet doors and check behind draperies.
The kicker is that the aforementioned accused adulterous duo are really just working on a secret surprise for distressed Don.
There’s gunfire, bodies slumping and a rubber chicken. …
Time to hit the reset button. The clock chimes backward. The lights dim and when they come back on we find our four characters blissfully unaware that they are caught in some kind of temporal time riptide. The suspected adulterous affair continues to be the central theme here and throughout the play, but things and circumstances have shifted and it all plays out toward a different ending — or is it a new beginning?
The characters can’t quite put their fingers on it, but they feel like they’ve been here before and that stupid yellow rubber chicken keeps popping up.
The clock strikes 8 p.m. seven times, each with a new scenario, each time reborn, each time Don has that same bad feeling toward Ben. However, Camille is starting to catch on.
I highly recommend this play. It has an adult theme because of the subject matter. The foul language is certainly not needed for this well-done play to succeed. It stands on its own two feet and, after two hours, those attending will certainly say they got their money’s worth.
“Who’s on First” continues its run at Rogue Playhouse, 94196 Moore St., Gold Beach. Remaining performances are 7 p.m. Fridays, Feb. 21 and 22, and Saturday, Feb. 22, as well as 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, March 1.
Ticket prices are $10 in advance. Tickets are available at the Coffee Dock or Gold Beach Books. Tickets are $12 at the door.
At the Feb. 23 show, Rachel’s Bakery will have tea and scones available. ‘
Joint Chiefs, a dance band, will be playing at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 1. Admission is $5 with a ticket from any “Who’s on First” performance, $10 each or $15 per couple. Wine, beer, and hors d’oeuvres will be available.
For more information or to make reservations, call 541-247-4ETC (4382).