"Farm boy, fetch me that beer."
The farm boy walks into the audience and snatches a beer from the hand of the poor person in the front row and returns.
"As you wish."
Of all the shows I've seen at the Alley Theater, I have to say that "The Princess Bride: Cliffnotes of Insanity" is now my favorite. I was already a big fan of the film, and this cast tugged at my heartstrings.
The entire movie is summed up in 30 minutes from beginning to end. The grandfather and sick child begin the show, and things get underway quickly when the grandfather (portrayed by Joey Arena) tells the boy (Edward Streeter), "If you keep interrupting, we'll never finish this in thirty minutes. Get out of here and don't come back till the end of the show."
One might wonder what is lost in this condensed form, but even hardcore Princess Bride fans will leave feeling satisfied; all of the great lines that really matter are delivered and some brilliance was shown in the set design by Jimi Fowler to incorporate puppet pirate ships, shrieking eels and soldiers.
This is perhaps one of the cleanest and well put together shows I've seen at the theater. The timing was spot on, the performances were stellar, and the set and props were nicely used. Ray Robinson really did a fantastic job writing the adaptation. There were no unnecessary jokes or drawn out banter. Timing is one of the most important aspects of comedy, and I am impressed with Robinson's critical eye for cutting appropriately to keep things moving at the proper pace. This is probaby the cleanest and best written parody I've seen there.
As is becoming a tradition for Alley Theater shows, audience members audition at the beginning of the show to portray one of the roles - in this case, Prince Humperdink. Kathy Hertle-Baker was the lucky audience member chosen by audience applause for this showing. She was quite enjoyable as the cowardly villain.
Direction by Martin French and JoAnne Sweeny turned out a well staged production. The Alley Theater continues to make the best of what they have, which is next to nothing. The Alley troupe use low budget to their advantage, making fun of themselves in their shows. They let the audience in on the humor, and everyone left feeling they had a great time.
I can't really pick out one cast member to commend. Each of the characters portrayed was done well, and I commend them all for their comedic timing. The entire cast was strong, but I do have to say I was impressed at the talent of the young Edward Streeter. Streeter played the son (originally played by Fred Savage in the film) and Miracle Max. In addition to that, he operated the puppets and provided some other sound effects.
I encourage all who love the film to catch this adaptation on any of the remaining Fridays or Saturdays in November. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show starts at 8. Tickets are $10. If you're really a fan of adaptations and parodies, you can pay just $7 more and stick around for "Commando Cody: Zombies of the stratosphere - episode 1" or "Flash Gordon: The Planet of Peril", which are also each 30 minutes long and run afterwards. Even if you're not a fan or aware of these films or stories, you'll leave ridiculously amused at the antics of this troupe.
Photography by Jessica Lynn: (above) Westley (Kenn Parks) hands Buttercup (Christie Troxell) the beer he stole from an audience member at her request.
(Left): Inigo Montoya (JoAnne Sweeney) and Miracle Max (Edward Streeter) are startled by the appearance of Max's wife (played by Christie Troxell) when she bursts on stage to call him a liar.