Brendan Kiley (The Stranger): "The cast is all Seattle favorites, actors with long résumés and demonstrated comic skills. Basil Harris (of the art-pop band "Awesome") kills as the sexually tortured and manipulative explorer in the first act, using clipped understatement like a deadly weapon."
Michael van Baker (The SunBreak): "Garrison is an inspired choice to direct, because he's as at home with arch, slapsticky, and bon mot humor as he is with moments that seem to cleave the characters to their vulnerable core."
Michael Strangeways (Seattle Gay Scene): "[Imogen] Love gave the best female performance in Act One, as the tart mother in law, and she manages to top herself with her work in Act Two... Ian Bell is appropriately ridiculous as a bratty five year old girl. Sarah Rudinoff is excellent as the slightly snobby but loving Victoria, eager to explore her sexuality. Basil Harris shines as her milquetoast husband and Gretchen Krich gives a charming and subtle performance as a wistful and lonely Betty, tentatively exploring a world without the assistance of a man to guide her. Mr. Cowan as the adult Edward and Mr. Shoemaker as his reluctant lover give compelling and complex portrayals of two very different gay men."
NICK GARRISON AGREES TO DIRECT STRAWSHOP'S CLOUD NINE IN JULY
What better way to approach a time-shifting cross-dressing play, than to have a well-known actor, cabaret performer, and rock'n'roll front-man flip roles and take the director's chair?
Strawberry Theatre Workshop begins 2011 with a flourish, behind Caryl Churchill's imaginative comedy Cloud Nine, opening July 7 at the Erickson Theatre Off Broadway on Capitol Hill.
The director is Nick Garrison who everybody knows from somewhere--reading at the Re-Bar, acting at the Rep, singing at Can Can, or eating breakfast in the pages of Seattle Magazine.
Garrison takes the reins for Cloud Nine after a winter-long discussion with his similarly multi-faceted friends Sarah Rudinoff and Ian Bell, initiated by Strawshop's rather one-dimensional Artistic Director Greg Carter. Wrestling with many scripts and combinations, the developers landed on Churchill's most widely performed play--known over the years as zany, absurd, sassy, and "elegantly insulting".
The same can be said of Rudinoff and Bell who will anchor a seven-person cast in the Strawshop production that also includes Imogen Love, Basil Harris, James Cowan, Gretchen Krich, and Scott Shoemaker.
Andrew Smith and Greg Carter design lights and scenery, with Anastasia Armes on costumes, and original music and sound by Robertson Witmer. The Stage Manager is Claire Branch.
Strawberry Theatre Workshop was the winner of the 2007 Stranger Genius Award for an Arts Organization. In 2010, Strawshop became the only theatre in Seattle nominated by Theatre Puget Sound for a Gregory Award for Outstanding Production two years in a row. This recognition was made more remarkable by the fact that Strawshop only produced a total of four plays during the two years considered--some nominated companies produced as many as twenty.
Cloud Nine is a two-act play written by the British playwright after workshops with the Joint Stock Theatre Company in late 1978 and first performed at Dartington College of Arts, London, in 1979. Act 1 is set in British colonial Africa in Victorian times, and Act 2 is set in a contemporary London park. However, between the acts only twenty-five years pass for the characters. Each actor plays one role in Act 1 and a different role in Act 2--the characters who appear in both acts are played by different actors in the first and second. Act 1 parodies the conventional comedy genre and satirizes Victorian society and colonialism. Act 2 shows what could happen when the restrictions of both the genre of comedy and Victorian ideology are loosened in the more permissive 1970s.
The play relies on vulgar sexuality and obscene language to establish a parallel between colonial and sexual oppression. Audiences should be prepared.
Tickets for Cloud Nine are on sale NOW.
Erickson Theatre Off Broadway
1524 Harvard Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
|Minimum Age: 16|
|Kid Friendly: No|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!|