When I go to a live performance, I am optimistic that feelings I have will make me laugh or cry. I hope I will be in awe of the actors/actresses or the music. I hope the story can hold my attention and even make me feel like I am part of the story. I hope that the ambiance in conducive to the performance. And finally, I hope for an audience that is engaged in the show. After understanding the amount of effort put into a performance – and in most cases for the love of what they crew is doing – I really love to watch the reaction of the crowd. In most cases, I am happy walking out of a performance if one or two of the above met or exceeded my expectations. My expectations where higher for this performance – why, because I have had the privilege to see other shows directed by Kellee Stall. I have been trying to put my finger on what makes Kellee the director she is. I believe it is that she makes you feel like you are in the show. The analogy I have for Kellee ‘s shows is like the difference between a regular movie and one that is in 3-D, no matter the subject, it is a different experience. One of the stars of the show Track (Tim Rack) was quoted as saying he only does shows directed by Kellee Stall.
The music – the performance before the show by Aaron Groesser and Zachary Draper was so good I could have left satisfied after they were finished. There inter-weaving of songs you would hear in a coffee shop and the jingles they created for the sponsors of the show were brilliant.
When the show did begin, after thinking Marty (Marty McGinley) and Taylor (Jensen McGowan) were actual employees of the coffee shop for 45 minutes, I soon realized they were in the show. Both were the ringleaders of the craziness that was coming soon to the coffee shop. They played their parts brilliantly – a dance scene between Marty and Track has me laughing 24 hours later. It also provided my favorite line in the show “I am the painting, you are the frame…display me”. The song between Taylor and Lindsey also had everyone in the audience rolling.
Next there were the two Divas - Gwyneth (Shannon Mayhill) and Cassandra (Kate Curtin). At first, I thought Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly strutted into the café with their fur and beads. Quickly Gwyneth and Cassandra stole the hearts of the employees at the coffee shop and the audience and they sang and danced there way to ordering a very specific coffee. One of the more amazing parts of the show to me was watching the two “Divas” even when they weren’t front and center on stage. I would love to meet Gwyneth and Cassandra at a coffee shop for an hour or so. They really make me laugh!
Then there was Lindsey (Rachel McGinley) who was in love with the barista Taylor. Talk about using all of your space to you advantage, her performance outside the coffee shop steaming up the window and drawing the heart had the whole room laughing. Also Kayla (Karen Niedlinger) was a perfect person to go on a blind date in a coffee shop. She was funny, adorable, cute and scatterbrained all at the same time.
Finally, there was the comic-con team of Track, Gerard (Patrick Thompson), Lilah (Elise Nygard) and James (Tim Kennett). I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at the nerdiness of these four. I am glad I choose to laugh because they were hilarious individually and as a group. It is way too hard to describe their scene; you need to see it to experience the laughter.
Ashley Mowers and Jenny Olson (writers) along with Kellee Stall created coffee shop magic. As a frequent person who spends too much time in a coffee shop, you could see much of this happening.
The show is outrageously funny, the music is great, the acting is fantastic, and the story pulls you in from the first scene on. I laughed hard and almost mistakenly cried (until I realized the scene was funny). To see a show in a coffee shop was such a wonderful and unique experience. Also, the magic performed in the custom jingles for the sponsors makes me want to sponsor each future show. I will never have a question of who to go to for my Mary Kay products again.
Inhabit Theater takes over places (like a coffee shop) for their performances. I can’t wait to see where they take over next – maybe a classroom, or perhaps an ER waiting room , a Metra Train or even an airport hanger!
This review is being submitted by Sir William from 2 Dudes and The Duchess. 2 Dudes and The Duchess can be heard M-F at 10:00 am 8:00 PM on Huntley Community Radio – 101.5 FM or huntleyradio.com – please follow us at facebook.com/2dudesandtheduchess