By John Van de Ven
Photos by Michael Brunk

BAT Theatre is back at it with a few more free appearances in King County parks this summer – including at Burien’s Town Square Park TONIGHT (Friday, Aug. 5, 2022), starting at 8 p.m.

The Play’s the Thing is a comedy about a playwright who scrambles to keep his show and his colleagues together after his lead actor and actress are caught in a steamy affair. I found BAT’s rendition to be a very enjoyable, engaging and hilarious show. This humorous tale is well acted and though it maintains a steady beat and never strays too far from its foundation, it never feels over-the-top. Though there were a number of park distractions, it was overall a delightful show that was made even better because I got to enjoy it in the perfect summer weather.

REVIEW: 'The Play's the Thing' a very enjoyable, engaging and hilarious show 1BAT Theatre’s version of P.G. Wodehouse’s The Play’s the Thing had me laughing out loud through the entire show (production managers Eric Dickman and Maggie Larrick with stage direction and script adaptation by Rachel Rene and stage manager Shelbi Figgins). This show is another must see production from BAT Theatre, so make sure not to miss this one.

The Play’s the Thing takes place in Port Townsend in the summer of 1979. Sandy Turai (played by Lance Leonard), a dramatist, is in deep discussion with Mansky (played by Holly McPherson), about how to start a play. While there is a little bit of some fourth wall breaking as he remarks about how every play begins the same way, we are introduced to Albert Adam (played by Lee Yang), Turai’s nephew and his show’s composer.

Soon after, the trio overhear a conversation between actress Ilona Szabo (played by Kalea Levy) and actor Almady (played by Rex Waters), while standing outside of Szabo’s room. It appears the pair are canoodling and exchanging pillow talk. Adam is very upset and inconsolable after learning that his fiance, the leading lady Szabo, is apparently having an affair on him.

Sensing that his production is in danger of completely falling apart, having to deal with a brokenhearted composer and two fraternizing actors, Turai enacts a plan to write a scene that will fix everything and save his show from falling apart. Will Turai be able to glue his fractured party back together with his clever writing, or will it all be for naught?

Though the set doesn’t change much between scenes, it still works as a hotel room and hallway (set design by Eric Dickman and Maggie Larrick and built by John Flynn). The costumes and props are era appropriate (costumes by Maggie Larrick and Rachael Rene with props by Cyndi Baumgardner) and the soundtrack fits the late 1970’s setting (sound design by Rachel Rene).

There are only three more opportunities to catch BAT Theatre’s The Play’s the Thing:

    • Friday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. in Burien’s Town Square Park
    • Sunday, Aug. 14 at 5 p.m. in Normandy Park’s Marvista Park
    • Sunday, Aug. 21 at 3 p.m. in Des Moines’ Des Moines Beach Park

The Play’s the Thing is sponsored by the cities of Sea-Tac, Burien, Normandy Park and Des Moines. Only three shows remain of this quirky, self aware comedy, so do not miss this chance to get out and have some laughs in the summer sun, it is worth it.

The BAT Theatre has been performing shows in the Puget Sound area for over 40 years, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) entity that relies on ticket revenue, donations and volunteer help. If you too would like to support BAT Theatre’s mission to bring live theater and arts to the masses, make sure to bring cash with you to put into the pot after the show ends.

REVIEW: 'The Play's the Thing' a very enjoyable, engaging and hilarious show 2

Burien Town Square Park is located at 480 SW 152nd Street: