Written by “The Groundling”. Media by Austin Schumacher.
The Factory Theatre’s musical production of The Spitfire Grill toasts the spirit of American hospitality, even though the owner/manager of the Grill, saucily played by Joy Gorrell, seems at first only grudgingly hospitable. If you need a break and want to cozy up in someone else’s place, The Spitfire Grill may be for you. The initial pace feels as slow as diner ketchup, which serves to illustrate the cheerless pothole of a town that is Gilead. The pace and mood pick up with Lindsay Ufert’s sweet lilting song about the disasters she’s causing at her new job as Grill cook. Still, the slow pace also show the sluggishness of the dying town in winter, until spring comes and Percy comes up with the mustard seed idea for the Grill that gets the townsfolk to grow out of the thinking that has held them stagnant all this time.
The Copeland-esque harmonies gorgeously sung by Ufert and the rest of director Jared Cole’s capable cast belie the simmering discord that is poisoning the little town. Jeff Langley engagingly portrays the disillusioned Sheriff Joe with typical panache; Katherine Clifton plays her role as postmistress and town slanderer effectively with unholy relish; Erin Pennington as Shelby, Percy’s best friend, lights the stage with that bell-like voice and sunny smile; Dr. Rich Beans, playing Shelby’s insecure husband, surprises with his confident, compelling tenor; Joy Gorrell takes haunting melodies in stride in an arresting contralto; and Lindsay Ufert grips our hearts and warms them–especially with the song she sings to the silent sun with Dan Ruder, who plays the one silent character beautifully.
Be sure not to miss this production!