Thunder River closes out season with big laughs
Glenwood Spring Post Independent
If You Go...
What: ‘Red Herring’
When: 7:30 p.m. June 19, 20, 26, 27, July 2-4; 2 p.m. June 28
Where: Thunder River Theatre
How Much: $25 for adults, $17 for 20-30-something young adults, $14 for full-time students. Tickets are available at www.thunderrivertheatre.com.
You may not expect it, but love in the time of the Cold War can be pretty hilarious.
“Red Herring,” the spy spoof that’s closing out Thunder River Theatre Company’s 20th anniversary season, offers the perfect opportunity to start your summer off right — with lots of laughs.
“Come see the show if you want to laugh,” said director Wendy Moore. “It’s not dark; it’s funny. So if you’re coming for a screaming message, there’s no screaming message.”
The play takes place during a very specific weekend: Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, 1952, the height of the Joe McCarthy communist trials. It follows groups of characters that are all somehow connected by the end — from the daughter of McCarthy himself to a FBI agent to a Jewish spy for the Soviets.
Moore said the humor of the show is timeless, and the tone of suspicion is still relevant even 60 years after the fact.
“It’s a bit of a spoof on spies,” she said. “Everybody is suspicious of everybody else. We’re not that far past the Cold War, and aren’t we just a little suspicious of anyone who looks different than we do?”
Aside from the great comedy when the lights are up, “Red Herring” is actually hilarious, even during scene changes, when the pier set piece turns into a storage unit for props, which are placed and replaced by cast members sneaking around the stage in full spy mode. The laughs truly never stop in this production.
One of the more challenging aspects of the play rests on the shoulders of the actors, almost all of whom play different characters.
“They’re running around, changing costumes and becoming entirely different people,” Moore said. “Bob (Moore) plays one character that says two words: ‘Yes, dear.’ That’s all he says. I think people would be intrigued by the construction of the play. Things are coming out from underneath the pier and people are changing from one character to another.”
In the end, there aren’t sweeping themes to digest in “Red Herring.” The play touches on the issue of paranoia, a relevant topic in post-9/11 America, but the point isn’t to make a statement. The point is to make you laugh.
“It’s just silly, silly fun,” Moore said. “I think that’s what people would like about it.”
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