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Kaputnik is a tour de farce


The Phoenix Theatre in Edmonds launches another comic rocket with Kaputnik, a Cold War spy farce directed by Eric Lewis.

A smiling official photograph of President Eisenhower watches over a broken-down observatory somewhere in the desert of the American southwest where astronomer Dr. Myles Stanton (David Bailey) and his assistant Blaine (Austin Gregory) spend their time orbiting around each other.

Soon, the pair spot a strange light in the sky, the telescope breaks, Sputnik is launched, Russian spies and FBI agents appear, spouses cheat and lie, hamsters are glued to their cages, and most of that is before intermission.

I found myself reminded of the fast-paced wackiness of the Firesign Theatre comedy troupe and the Guy Noir skits on A Prairie Home Companion. The writing and performance were that sharp.

The script gives each of the six actors plenty of opportunities to ham it up. Whether it calls for slapstick physical comedy, quick one-liners or even at one point dance choreography, they are up to the task.

Bailey’s clown and Gregory’s straight man definitely carry the show. But Laura Hanson’s cheating (perhaps in more ways than one) wife and Asa Sholdez’s self-important secret agent each take command of the stage when it is their turn.

Melanie Calderwood and Susan Connors as the other two trench-coated agents round out the cast and each has memorable moments.

Saturday night’s show was sold out, deservedly so. The Phoenix Theater has a good thing going.

Kaputnik plays through June 23, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Phoenix Theater, 9673 Firdale Avenue in Edmonds.


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