INTERN’S VIEW: You’ll Love Every Minute Of Breeders Theater’s ‘West’

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by Philip Benais

West; Directed By Alan Wilkie: Starring Eric Hartley, Adrienne Grieco, David Roby, Amber Rack, Doug Knoop, Stephen R. Scheide, Erika Zabelle and Nancy Warren. Written by T.M. Sell. Music by Nancy Warren.

In my time as a critic, it seems certain patterns have emerged more distinctly than others. So when I was commissioned to see West at Breeders Theater I decided to follow my usual pattern of not researching the play before I saw it. So far, this pattern has led to many pleasant surprises but I think West may be among the most pleasant of the bunch. Right off the success of Casting Call, the cast and crew of Breeders Theater strikes gold again with a production that’s at once a throwback to classic Hollywood romance stories of the 30’s – 50’s and a new entry in the genre; except as a play.

The story follows the tale of two families, the Olsons and the Dokkens whose lives are more connected than they first seem. Olie Olson (Eric Hartley) is the head of a farming family, having immigrated to America at the height of homesteading with nothing but an extra shirt. Harald Dokken (Doug Knoop) is a banker, a steadfast man who believes in hard work and discipline. On one fateful day, Glenda Olson (Adrienne Grieco) and George Dokken (David Roby), meet. What at first seems like annoyance at first sight blossoms into something they never though possible. Throughout the course of the play we follow George and Glenda as they succeed and fail, struggle and sacrifice, all in a story that has as many laughs as it does genuine drama. This is a story that will warm your heart and tug at your heart strings, but most importantly, it’ll make you want to sing half as well as the actors do.

The most striking aspect of West is how well all of the individual parts combine into a whole; the wonderful music, the terrific performances, the stellar writing all combined to form something that is nostalgic but level headed, sentimental but grounded in reality. It’s crucial spiritual nourishment for the inner romantic in all of us and by the end, I guarantee you’ll want more. It’s not just that the characters are fully realized by great actors who obviously care about the audience. It’s not just that the music will have you stirring in your seat and humming the tunes the morning after. It’s not just that the writing has shades of some of the greatest romance stories of all time. It’s ultimately how all of these elements manage to be as great as you’d think and so much more. West gets my highest recommendation. If you’re looking for a romantic evening out at the theater or just feel like you could use a real love story and not the nonsense they’re peddling today try heading to a showing of West. You’ll love every minute of it.

Breeders Theater’s “West” opens at 7pm this Friday night, March 11th at E.B. Foote Winery, located at 127B SW 153rd St., Burien, and continues through:

  • Saturday, March 12
  • Sunday, March 13 (2 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, March 16
  • Thursday, March 17
  • Friday, March 18
  • Saturday, March 19
  • Sunday, March 20 (2 p.m.)
  • Wednesday, March 23
  • Thursday, March 24
  • Friday, March 25
  • Saturday, March 26

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and showtime is at 7 p.m.

Sunday matinees are March 13 and 20, with doors open at 1:30 p.m. and showtime at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $20 (includes wine tasting), and are available at the winery, 206-242-3852, and at Corky Cellars, 22511 Marine View Drive, Des Moines, 206-824-9462. Cash or check only. For more information on tickets, click here.

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Philip Benais is our newest Intern, a 16-year old student at Big Picture High School in SeaTac. He’s an aspiring Writer who loves movies, so we let him write reviews for us.

Read more of his work here.]

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One Response to “INTERN’S VIEW: You’ll Love Every Minute Of Breeders Theater’s ‘West’”
  1. Sharkey says:

    Wow! Can’t wait to see it……….

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