Satire is kind of dangerous these days; but if you’re courageous (and not easily offended), the Temple Theatre’s current production of I’ll Never Be Hungry Again, with music by Gary Bartholomew and book and lyrics by Catherine Bush, will be right up your alley. The show is Margaret Mitchell rewritten with song and dance and some pokes at our prejudices and Southern culture. It is certainly not Politically Correct.
Five accomplished actors play all our favorite characters from the movie Gone with the Wind, but in ways dear Margaret would have never imagined, although staying true to her original characterizations. I’ll Never Be Hungry Again is a romp; campy and refreshing, which plunks David, a graduate student, required to plow through the book for an English class, into the character of Sissy (notice the gender swap as well!) in a dream that arises when he falls asleep in a late night cramming session.
Temple Theatre artistic director and choreographer Peggy Taphorn has selected substantial professionals to fill the roles of 10 characters, and they all deliver. Musical director and onstage pianist Clifton L. Cuddington III leads and accompanies with great skill. The show moves at a lively pace across a multi-use stage, the creation of set designer/technical director Steven Harrington.
Peggy Taphorn’s costumes are versatile and delightful (take special note of Starlett in her drapery dress). Mike Winkelman’s interesting lighting fits nicely into the various settings. This is the regional debut of this show, which deserves to be seen by a wide audience.
Hannah Duncan, who plays the role of Starlett (yes, it’s spelled correctly) of Terra Firma Plantation, is exquisite in her humor and her voice is full and melodious. That she is camping up a stonily serious character is an ever-present fact of her performance, sometimes resorting to bathos to demonstrate her perfidy.
The roles of Whammy — yes, Whammy — and Whett Butler are portrayed by Jacob Waid, who brings an operatic voice and brilliant comic talent to the chore of presenting both a slave woman and a rapscallion blockade runner from Charleston. His Whammy is bossy and bustling and feminine, very Hattie McDaniel; and his Whett is solid and smooth.
Marktavious Patton offers up David and Sissy as two distinctly different characters, with the sex shift made as smoothly as silk, incorporating gestures and postures and mannerisms that belie his native gender. For a young actor with only a year’s experience he shows remarkable skills.
Smelanie and Swell Watling are in the capable hands of Holly Knowles, prissy and self-righteous, a real Goody Two-shoes as Smelanie (a wonderful corruption of Melanie), and sultry and vamping as the prostitute Swell.
Bill Saunders handles three roles: Emerald (Gerald O’Hara); Ghastly (Ashley Wilkes, of course); and Stank (nee Frank Kennedy.) There is no overlap among these characters, each stands alone. Emerald, the jolly leprechaun, is Scarlett’s father and owner of Terra Firma; Ghastly, is a dutiful, honorable (and good) faithful husband; and Stank is doddering and decrepit.
This show hits some tender spots, but does so with jolting rhymes, and leads you to getting caught up in the drama and then remembering this is all farce. Yankees, beware — the South may rise again!
SECOND OPINION: Jan. 20th Sanford, NC Sanford Herald preview by Zach Potter: http://www.sanfordherald.com/news/leecounty/x1351410781/-Frankly-my-dear-it-s-a-re-imagined-classic.
Temple Theatre presents I’LL NEVER BE HUNGRY AGAIN at 2 p.m. Jan. 25, 2 and 7 p.m. Jan. 29, 8 p.m. Jan. 30 and 31, 2 p.m. Feb. 1, 2 and 7 p.m. Feb. 5, 8 p.m. Feb. 6 and 7, and 2 p.m. Feb. 8 at 120 Carthage St., Sanford, North Carolina 27330.
TICKETS: $21 Thursday and $25 Friday-Sunday ($14 students). For single-ticket discounts, click http://www.templeshows.com/ticketinfo/ticketinfo.php.
BOX OFFICE: 919-774-4155, firstname.lastname@example.org, or https://www.vendini.com/.
2014-15 SEASON: http://www.templeshows.com/showsandevents/fullseason14-15.php.
PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.templeshows.com/, https://www.facebook.com/TheTempleTheatre, and https://twitter.com/TempleTheatreNC.
I’ll Never Be Hungry Again (2006 musical): http://catherinebushplays.com/i%27ll-never-be-hungry-again.html (official web page).
Catherine Bush (book and lyrics): http://catherinebushplays.com/ (official website).
Peggy Taphorn (director, choreographer, and costume designer): http://www.templeshows.com/about/templestaff.php (Temple Theatre bio) and https://www.facebook.com/peggy.taphorn.7 (Facebook page).
Martha Keravuori is a life-long theater artist — an actress, director, and stage manager — in North Carolina, around the country, and overseas. She has a theater degree from UNC-Greensboro, and has been active in the arts in Raleigh for the past 40 years. Martha is the retired executive director of the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Chuck Galle returned to Raleigh last year after a 17-year absence. He was active in community theater for many years, and directed the troupe of maximum-security inmates at Raleigh’s Central Prison known as the Central Prison Players. In New England, he performed on stage, on TV, and in films. He is the author of Stories I Never Told My Daughter — An Odyssey, which can be ordered on his website: http://www.chuckgalle.com/. Chuck Galle and Martha Keravuori review theater for Boom! Magazine of Cary. Click here to read more of their reviews for Boom! Magazine and here to read more of their reviews for Triangle Review and Triangle Arts and Entertainment.