REVIEW: Wait Until Dark at All Beaches Experimental Theatre

REVIEW: Wait Until Dark at All Beaches Experimental Theatre

ABET, Wait Until Dark

ABET, All Beaches Experimental Theatre, opened its second production of the season, at his new home 544 Atlantic Blvd, Neptune Beach with the classic thriller, Wait Until Dark. This play by Frederick Knott debuted in 1966 and ran for 373 performances. It had star power with Lee Remick in the lead for which she was nominated for a Tony Award. Warner Bros-Seven Arts made a movie that starred Audrey Hepburn who won an Academy Award for her role.

fri26oct(oct 26)7:30 pmsun11nov(nov 11)9:00 pmWAIT UNTIL DARK(october 26) 7:30 pm – (november 11) 9:00 pm ALL BEACHES EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE

This play is an electrifying thriller about a young lady named Susy who is blind due to an auto accident. While in the hospital she meets and marries a freelance photographer Sam (Kyle Reeves) and they live in a small basement apartment. The time is the 1990s.

This nail-biting drama finds three con men intruding into the blind Suzy’s home while Sam is away on a photo assignment. It seems that when in Canada on assignment, Sam accidently brought home a doll which unknown to him is stuffed with high grade heroin and these three bad boys of society want it so badly they would kill to get it.

ABET, Wait Until Dark

While Susy is out shopping, the trio of crooks meets in her apartment. Here we met the head of this trio is Harry Roat Jr. In some very interesting casting, Roat is played by a woman, Milan Alley who arrives wearing a long shoulder length wig, shorts and rose colored glasses. Ms. Alley is from Tallahassee, Florida and made her local debut as a singer in one of the major roles in Madam Bonaparte at Players by the Sea. She also played by two roles dressed as a male in this play and we leave those for your to discover when you see the show. Alley more than captures the psychopathic energy of the villain Mr. Roat.

One of her or his criminals is Mike Talman played by David Girard who is well known for his many outstanding performances on local stages. Mike agrees to visit Susy and pretend that he is an old army buddy of Sam’s and is just passing through the city. He spends his time looking for the doll while talking it up with Susy.

ABET, Wait Until Dark

Conman # 2 is Juan Ocharan who pretends to be Sergeant Carlino of the local police department investigating a murder of a woman in the neighborhood. He of course is looking everywhere for the doll. Mr. Ocharan is doing his first non singing role; has been a student in the UNF chorale.

Another character is the young neighborhood girl Gloria, who lives upstairs, who is a good friend to Susy. Nine years old Tatum Matthews is an excellent actress and very entertaining and engaging in this key role involved in dealing with these undesirable thugs. This is Tatum’s first non-musical role, and she has sung in several musicals at Alhambra Theatre and Dining. She has been cast in the upcoming production of Elf at the Alhambra.

ABET, Wait Until Dark

Actress Jenna Bourne, in the most demanding role of her acting career, is very convincing as a blind woman. She impressed us with her constant attention to finding her way at home as some who has no sight. Facially she expresses the fear, doubt and desperation that she finds herself in and then expertly turns things around in her favor for a thrilling hold-your-breath finish.

Franklin Ritch makes his directing debut with this show. He has been a performer in 3 musicals on local stages with Into the Woods and Madam Bonaparte at Players by the Sea and Celebration at ABET. Mr. Ritch also designed the set that is outstanding considering the small amount of space he had to work with and the incredible number of items on it.

The title of the show is Wait Until Dark, and to forewarn you. Yes, you sit in the dark in the 2nd act, with parts of the show being done in with the lights out but it lasts a very short time.

Don’t miss this true classic of theatre that will keep you spellbound. Call for reservations 904-249-7177 or visit www.abettheatre.com

PRODUCTION TEAM

Franklin Ritch (Director), Ramona Ramdeen (Stage Manager), Maureen Johnson (Assistant Stage Manager), Laura Young (Properties), Bryan Frank (Light/Sound Design) Hunter Steinke (Backstage Crew)

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/11/06/review-wait-until-dark-at-all-beaches-experimental-theatre/


JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH ABET THEATRE REVIEW

A DUAL CRITICS REVIEW by Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

We attended the festive debut of the brand new home of the All Beaches Experimental Theatre at 544 Atlantic Boulevard in Neptune Beach, Florida on Friday, September 22, 2018. The theatre was founded by Carson Merry Baillie a number of years ago and named the Atlantic Beach Experimental Theatre; their new name reflects their more expansive audience. Their new home is located in the Neptune Beach Plaza; excellent parking and pre-show dining opportunities are within walking distance. We were greeted with smiles by ABET’s Managing Artistic Director Ceila Frank and ABET board members.

fri21sep(sep 21)8:00 pmsun30(sep 30)4:00 pmFeaturedJAMES & THE GIANT PEACHNew ABET Location 8:00 pm – 4:00 pm (30) ALL BEACHES EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE

The opening show for the venue and the new season is “James and the Giant Peach”, a musical adaptation of a children’s book by Roald Dahl. He has written a number of children’s books; “Matilda” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” were also adapted for the stage. The choice was excellent as it is a show appeals to both children and adults.

The show’s director is Lee Hamby, who is well known in this area as a director, designer, and actor. He is very much in demand for his talents and was the perfect choice for launching this endeavor. Lee is the managing director and founder of downtown Jacksonville’s highly successful 5 & Dime Theatre Company,

This delightful version of Dahl’s work was staged using a large screen on the back wall with projected images to provide the multiple settings, and recorded music. Amy Hancock’s colorful innovative costumes reflected a time and place filled with fantastic happenings. The large cast moved on and off stage with perfect timing.

The story is about James, an orphaned boy, performed wonderfully by Shauna Clark, who previously appeared in a number of productions at Jacksonville University. James is forced to live with two repulsive (but terribly funny) sisters Auntie Sponge (Leanne Gullo) and Auntie Spiker (Erin Barnes) who clearly have no maternal instincts whatever and make his life wretched by treating him as an unpaid menial laborer.

Life improves after he accepts a magic potion offered to him by Ladahlord (Brian Niece, who also acts as the play’s narrator). After James sprays an old fruit tree with the potion, the tree responds by growing a giant peach, and the aunts become very excited about the commercial possibilities of this wonder. However, when James tells him he made the peach grow, they don’t believe him and send him outside to sleep as a punishment for lying.

To escape the cold, James makes his way inside the peach and finds it inhabited by human-sized insects who become his friends. The colorfully garbed creatures include Jacob Pickering (Grasshopper), Christine Phillips (Ladybug), Gary Baker (Earthworm), Michael Yarick (Centipede), and Sade Crosby (Spider), and they all also want to escape from the aunts.        

Centipede detaches the peach from the tree, and it rolls into the ocean. The group travels inside across the ocean evading sharks and other hazards, finally arriving in New York City with the help of friendly seagulls. They have survived many dangers, but learned teamwork, became the best of friends, and created a happy ending.

Cast members in the large ensemble appear in a number of smaller roles and are constantly on and off stage with props and costumes, which include those of the sharks and seagulls, as well as assorted crowd members. The ensemble included Kimberly Cooper York, Jack Niemczyk, Karen Couglin, Rhodie Jackson, Kenggy Bravo, Amanda Jackson and Bryan Martins.

Director Hamby has a noteworthy support team with Benjamin Beck (Music Director); Niki Stokes (Choreography); Amy Hancock (Costume Design); Jennifer O’Brien (Assistant Director/Stage Manager); Katie Cress (Light/Sound Operator); Bryan Frank (Light/Sound Design); and Jenn Peek and Frak Sanabria (Scenic Artists).

To close the evening ABET held a reception featuring delicious food and beverages, a tradition maintained for many years.

Many thanks go to the sponsors of this production: John and Beverly Johnson and The Tom Nehl Fund of the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida.

ABET is known for intimate theatre, and we can continue to expect many interesting productions in the future. “James” will remain on stage through September 30, followed by “Wait Until Dark” (October 26 —November 11). Call 249-7177 or visit abettheatre.com for tickets and additional information.

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/09/24/james-and-the-giant-peach-abet-theatre-review/


‘James and the Giant Peach’ at ABET

The newly rebranded All Beaches Experimental Theatre launches its 27th season tomorrow at its new Neptune Beach home with the musical “James and the Giant Peach.” The show runs through Sept 30 (www.abettheatre.com).

fri21sep(sep 21)8:00 pmsun30(sep 30)4:00 pmFeaturedJAMES & THE GIANT PEACHNew ABET Location 8:00 pm – 4:00 pm (30) ALL BEACHES EXPERIMENTAL THEATRE

Director Lee Hamby says the family-friendly musical based on the beloved children’s book by Roald Dahl was the perfect choice to christen ABET’s new stage. “I think the story really resonates because it talks about finding your family and finding your home,” he says. “And that’s really what ABET is doing right now. It’s finding its place and finding its home, so I think this story works well right now. It was happenstance, for sure.”

“James & the Giant Peach” is a lively and heartfelt adventure about a small boy on a journey of epic proportions. The composers behind “Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Greatest Showman” scored the oversized, fantastical, magical family musical. The cast includes Brian Neice, Shauna Clark, Erin Barnes, Leanne Gullo, Sade Crosby, Jacob Pickering, Christine Phillips, Gary Baker, Michael Yarick, Kenggy Bravo, Karen Coughlin, Amanda Jackson, Rhodie Jackson, Brian Martins, Jack Niemczyk and Kimberly Cooper York.



Artistic Director Celia Frank says the board chose to stage a family-friendly production as the first show in the new building to welcome audiences of all ages. The new season also includes the musical “The Robber Bridegroom,” a mystery for the Halloween season in “Wait Until Dark,” the Southern Christmas comedy “Dashing Through the Snow” and the thought-provoking drama “Eleemosynary.” The classic “Alice in Wonderland” closes out the season.

“We will still present the varied season of productions that we are known for,” says Frank. “Since we will finally have our own space, we will be able to add many diverse programming options, as well as classes and anything else we can imagine. Our opportunities are endless, and we are extremely excited.”

Construction delays pushed the opening back two weeks from its original Sept. 7 date, forcing cast and crew to navigate rehearsals around the unfinished stage. The new 2,500-square-foot location features an indoor lobby instead of a front porch with three restrooms, a dressing room and shop area backstage. The stage is a more conventional design, with the audience seated on six risers instead of wrapped around the side.

“Logistics was always a thing,” says Hamby. “We had to reconfigure some things. But it’s been lovely. Everybody has been really great.”

Frank says the board made the decision that last season would be its final one in the Adele Grage Center where it served the community for 25 years. “It had become apparent that the Atlantic Beach City Council wanted to turn the space into more of a multi-purpose facility rather than a theatre,” she says. “Scheduling and other issues had become insurmountable, and we knew it was time to move.”

Hamby, who directed several productions at the former ABET location, says operating within a shared space created a series of challenges. “We haven’t had the privilege of being in there the way that everyone following us will be. But just having the capability of coming and going as we wish is huge. At the old ABET space, you had to get permission, you had to be on the calendar. If you were scheduled to rehearse at 7, you couldn’t get there any earlier than 7,” he says.

“This is a huge difference. There’s nothing like having a place for your stuff. The little stuff is what makes you realize how wonderful it is to have your own space like a filing cabinet or a place for your tools rather than having to schlep everything around. It becomes a whole different experience.”

The move and build-out totaled twice the anticipated costs. An online fundraiser is underway with a goal of $80,000 to help offset some of the construction costs and replenish the coffers. ABET Through the Years: A Fundraiser Cabaret was held in July and offered a look back at many of the musical productions staged through the years.

While directing the first production on the new stage had its share of obstacles, Hamby is grateful for the privilege and hopeful audiences will embrace the new chapter in ABET history.

“It’s one of my favorite places to direct because you have to be so creative and I love that,” he says. “It’s like being put in a box in a way and finding a creative way to make that space come to life. We’ve christened it for sure and I have been so lucky to experience this. It’s been a challenge to do a good job and show people what really can happen in this space.”

 

http://eujacksonville.com/2018/09/20/james-and-the-giant-peach-at-abet/


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Upcoming Events

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  3. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  4. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Run The Race 5K -Christian Fun Run & Walk

    November 17 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am UTC+0
  6. Day of Thanks – Community Food Give Away

    November 17 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  7. Xtreme Sports Festival

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  8. SWFLORIDA CON

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  9. DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts 2018

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - November 18 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0
  10. 4th ANNUAL ALPACA FESTIVAL – SWEET BLOSSOM ALPACAS

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  2. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  3. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  4. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0
  5. Run The Race 5K -Christian Fun Run & Walk

    November 17 @ 8:00 am - 11:00 am UTC+0
  6. Day of Thanks – Community Food Give Away

    November 17 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  7. Xtreme Sports Festival

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - 5:00 pm UTC+0
  8. SWFLORIDA CON

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  9. DeLand Fall Festival of the Arts 2018

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - November 18 @ 5:00 pm UTC+0
  10. 4th ANNUAL ALPACA FESTIVAL – SWEET BLOSSOM ALPACAS

    November 17 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0