Rattlin’ D Playhouse’s production of “My Funny Valentine” began around 6 p.m. with a delicious dinner prepared and served by the Diamond Ranch Academy’s culinary club. You are led to your table by an usher where you dine family-style among strangers. As introductions pave the way to good conversation and dinner, you quickly feel right at home. My neighbor, 7-month-old Millie Harris, did that for me! After an hour of good food, your plates are cleared and leftovers stored. Let the show begin.
The playhouse’s latest production is busting with hilarity, offering 27 different skits and songs — all love-related, of course — featuring seven performers: three girls and four guys. Not all had memorable parts, but each one was nonetheless a key part of the show.
Andrew Durrant, the owner of Rattlin’ D Playhouse, is a constant in their productions. Having created some memorable characters such as Ramona Hugginkiss (who made a hilarious appearance in this show) and everyone’s favorite redneck, Bo-Cletus, it’s no wonder that people flock to every show.
Stephen Michaud, a founding player with Rattlin’ D and an amazing vocalist, was a definite featured performer in many of the skits. My favorite was his performance of “Last Night of the World,” from the Disney musical “Aladdin.” Michaud flawlessly portrayed the roles of both Aladdin and Princess Jasmine in the most unique of ways. He just needs to be less “over-the-top” when performing. It seemed at times that he was playing down to the audience, as though we were a room full of children. With that toned down, he could’ve stolen the show.
Brandon Lee, a teacher at both Tuacahn High School and Dixie State University, highlighted many of the scenes with his piano and dazzled the audience with his unbelievable talent as a pianist. In all honesty, I could’ve listened to him play all night long and been happy.
Skyler Scott, a known performer in the theater community throughout Southern Utah, was last seen in Rattlin’ D’s Christmas production of “Ramona’s Christmas Spectacular.” I felt his comedic timing and natural talent were underused in this show, and I would like to have seen more of him. However, he did debut a very funny character whom we all know from “Napoleon Dynamite,” Pedro Sanchez, who with a spot-on thick accent was sadly trying to find a girlfriend. Bueno, Skyler. Bueno!
Two out of the three girls portrayed characters who stood out in showstopping style: Kenzie Lee and Rachel Peterson. Peterson knocked it out of the park with her nasal-flute stylings. Donning oh-so-awesome headgear and a small flute fixed in one nostril while adding a nice bone-white recorder to the other, we listened to romantic tunes (“Cynthia’s Sensual Sounds”) for that extra special occasion. I have always wanted to play a character with braces or headgear, so this character was a definite favorite of mine.
Kenzie Lee, however took the No. 1 prize for best character! In a skit featuring three sisters, we were introduced to the wonderfully creepy Donise! Next to her beautifully blonde sisters, her curly-crazy brown hair, receding hairline, and baby hands severely stood out. Exactly as they should. This character was so funny and had me laughing so hard that I nearly tipped over in my chair. This is a character who should become a reoccurring staple in every show (#TeamDonise)!
Rattlin’ D is partnered with Diamond Ranch Academy in Hurricane, and students make the production possible by working as ushers, bussers, and food attendants as well as running the lights and sound. Profits from each production go to the academy’s “Young Performing Artist” scholarship fund.
Although in my personal opinion their Christmas production was funnier overall, “My Funny Valentine” has enough skits that hit that high-caliber of hilarity that they still get an “A” in my book. This style of theater is not everyone’s cup of tea. But if it’s yours, come down to Rattlin’ D Playhouse in Hurricane for a nice, hot cup of funny. “My Funny Valentine” is performing through Feb. 27. You’d better get your tickets now! Check them out at rattlindplayhouse.com and purchase tickets by calling the box office at (435) 705-8598. It’s family experience worth making a tradition.