The Kansas City Star:
Sometimes a show is more than a show. Sometimes, because of unique circumstances, it becomes an event. And so it is with Spinning Tree Theatre’s singular production of “The Fantasticks,” the legendary musical fable that we all think we know.
Last week the opening-night performance was canceled at intermission after actor Vigthor Zophoniasson tore an Achilles tendon. On Thursday the production came roaring back with a sense of bravado that I’ve rarely seen. The actors were energized, the audience was exceptionally receptive and Zophoniasson, performing on crutches and in a wheelchair, breezed through the show like there was nothing to it.
It was, in short, an unforgettable night of theater.
This production is remarkable for the number of fine comic performances inhabiting the same stage. (Tom) Lancaster and (Julie) Shaw are in sync all night and are a delight to watch as they show us what comic timing really is.
Kip Niven is in rare form as Henry, the Old Actor. Niven is magnificent.
(Sarah) Goeke is a stunning soprano, and (Seth) Jones’ strong baritone seems inordinately powerful in such a young actor.
Spinning Tree Theatre is a still-young company (“The Fantasticks” is only its third production) but directors Andy Parkhurst and Michael Grayman have created an interpretation of this classic musical that is incredibly well-suited to the strengths of their operation.
It is difficult to recommend highly enough a show that is so well done, so funny, and so worth spending the evening with, but I will try: I have not laughed so hard at a show in a long time, and the company’s overall energy and masterful execution was so impressive that I implore you to see The Fantasticks before the curtain falls for a final time on May 27! If this production is any indication of the future output of this nearly-new theatre company, then we surely have many, many seasons of truly fantastic Spinning Tree productions to look forward to.
(Vigthor) Zophoniasson’s rich, consistent voice was a highlight of the show, in addition to remarkable comic timing and clever charm.
The Boy and Girl of the story, played by Seth Jones and Sarah Goeke, were a perfect match for these roles. Goeke played brilliantly the part of the clueless young girl who discovers her own fledgling beauty and goes “temporarily insane.” Her acting was delightfully fresh and honest, her voice clear and flexible. Jones voice was mature, rich, and pitch-perfect as he delighted the audience with his portrayal of a young man feverishly in love with being in love.
The chemistry between all of the actors shifted brilliantly from comical romp to intimate turmoil from the first act to the second, as reality settles in to disturb the picture-perfect love of the Boy and Girl, effectively taking the audience from side-splitting humor to still, quiet sadness.