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Full cast of <i>Pump Boys and Dinettes</i>.
Full cast of Pump Boys and Dinettes.

Theatre Review: Pump Boys and Dinettes at St. Michael?s Playhouse

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The musical Pump Boys and Dinettes is the final production of the season at St. Michael's Playhouse in Colchester, Vermont. The show runs at the Playhouse through August 9. Resident theatre critic Connie Meng was at the opening night and has this review.

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Connie Meng
Theatre Critic

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I don't know how I've managed to miss PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES all these years, but I'm happy to have been introduced to the show by such a good production. It was initially put together by six actor/musicians with the songs written in large part by Jim Wann, a "good ole' boy" from North Carolina. There's no real plot although the characters are realistic and have sketchy relationships. It's really more a concert with the four Pump Boys on guitars, bass and piano and the two Dinette ladies, the Cupp sisters, supplying percussion on various kitchen utensils. Whatever you call it, I call it fun.

Daniel Guyette's set, half gas station and half diner, is terrific. As my companion said, it has just the right amount of "stuff." Jeff Croiter's lighting is just fine, as are Sarah Moore's costumes, especially Eddie's baggy black coveralls. Last but certainly not least is the multitude of props by Jason Reuter, who has supplied everything from plastic bowls to metal muffin pans for the ladies' percussion section.

Musical Director Andrew Byrne has done a nice job, particularly with the group vocals. The blend is really good on "Taking It Slow" and the a capella "Fisherman's Prayer." Mr. Byrne plays the role of L.M., is a terrific pianist and is not too shabby on accordion.

Paul Wyatt is good on guitar and I could hardly sit still on his solo "Mona." Justin Rose, an excellent bass player, is obviously having fun playing Eddie, a man of very few words.

As Rhetta, Shanna Lesniak raises the roof with "Be Good or Be Gone ," although her lyrics get a bit lost on "Sister." Kate Wetherhead as Prudie does a really nice job on "The Best Man." She's not only a good singer but a good actress. Both ladies could have alternate careers as percussionists.

Devon Goffman is a stand-out as Jim. An excellent guitarist and singer, his engaging personality is perfect for the role. His solo "Mamaw" is one of the emotional high points of the show.

Keith Andrews has directed and staged the piece very effectively. It's always visually interesting, including the movement for the back-ups. That for "Farmer Tan" is especially good. I should also mention the rousing "Drinkin' Shoes" with its lively tap sequence.

This is an audience friendly show with a talented cast of actor/musicians who are comfortable talking to an audience. There's even an onstage raffle and coffee and home made pie are available at intermission. The whole evening has a "Come on in and join us" feel. It's an upbeat ending to an upbeat season.

On a scale of one to five the St. Michael's Playhouse production of PUMP BOYS AND DINETTES gets four and a third covered bridges. For North Country Public Radio, I'm Connie Meng.

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