(Elisa Alpizar (Cass), Aubrianne Scott (Lois); Photo Credit: The Fresno Beehive)
Opening up the 2012/2013 Fresno State University Theatre season is the David Lindsay-Abaire outrageous romp, Wonder of the World. In past mentions of Fresno State University theatre, I have always been entertained by the way they stage their productions with the college-aged talent, and the occasional community adult actors. At the end of the day, the theatre faculty are not afraid to take risks with their titles, and this production is no exception. There are some crude humorous plot lines, the occasional curse word, and random occurences that seem to not fit; yet they do. I was surprisingly enthralled and delightfully entertained by this production, and my bet is you would be too.
Wonder of the World was instantly a favorite of mine because of the style it is written. Lindsay-Abair takes the central character of Cass (an eccentric and strong leading lady in Elisa Alpizar) and takes her on a journey as she leaves her husband Kip (an adorable Jacob Rico) due to his abnormal sexual fixation. She heads to Niagra Falls where she encounters different people along the way. She is on a mission to cross tasks off her “list” in hopes of enjoying the maximum amount in her new freedom. She befriends a suicidal alcoholic, Lois (a comical standout in Aubrianne Scott), a smooth Maid of the Mist captain (an alluring Ryan Woods) and several other zany characters. Eventually Kip catches up, which then results in a rousing game of group therapy led by a clown on parol. In all, a random group of characters that come together at the beautiful Falls for a life-changing couple of days.
(Ryan Woods (Capt. Mike), Aubrianne Scott (Lois), Jochebed Smith (Janie); Photo Credit: Ricardo Cano, The Collegian)
This production gives Fresno audiences a totally different taste of comedy. The well-animated Elisa Alpizar does a top-notch job leading this cast of unpredictable characters. Not to be outdone, Aubrianne Scott is the memorable drunk side-kick, providing comedic-timed looks and one-liners that gives the audience plenty to laugh at. Jochebed Smith (Janie) makes a great appearance late in Act 2 as the psychologist. She leads the principals in a creative staging of a hand-raising Newlywed Game scene. Smith delivers her “love” story at the Falls with great animation and convincing.
Making an unforgettable one-two punch are elderly couple turned private investigators, Ryan Torres (Glen) and Sharayah Veith (Karla). They work well off each other, especially in the aformentioioned Newlywed Game scene. However, both are stand outs on their own, displayed greatly in the highlight of Brad Myer’s sound directing. Ryan Woods is an adorable Captain Mike. His instant chemistry opposite Alpizar as well as delivery of his wife’s unfortunate death show Woods’ growth and acting chops well. In all the roles I have seen Woods in, this is my absolute favorite work he has done. Bravo to him and the rest of this cast.
Wonder of the World plays through this Saturday, the 13th at Fresno State University. Head over and catch this show because you would not want to be THAT person who missed it. And you honestly do not know what you are missing. Go see this show!