Royally funny ‘Gypsy King’ keeps you laughing long after the show

March 23, 2010

By Kathleen R. Merrill

Jose J. Gonzales, as Prince Dijon (center), and the ensemble, enact a scene in the Village Theatre world premiere production of ‘The Gypsy King,’ by Emmy Award-winner Randy Rogel. By Jay Koh / Village Theatre

If laughter is the best medicine, get to a performance of “The Gypsy King” at Village Theatre, because the doctor is in.

You won’t experience the occasional chuckle or snicker. You’ll howl with sidesplitting, belly-aching raucous laughter.

This musical starts with a rousing opening. (Who would laugh at a blind joke? You will.) It continues with sumptuous costumes in luscious colors. Then, there’s the amazing set design. (Seriously, is there anything they can’t pull off on this small stage?)

Then, there’s the delightful but pure evil Sergei laying out a plot so outrageous, well, you’ll have to see for yourself.

Coming up shortly after is an excellent ensemble number, “Prince Dijon,” which will remind you of the staircase scene in “The Phantom of the Opera” for its delicious color palette. (Don’t forget to check out the paintings in the background throughout the play. They’re priceless all by themselves.)

Next up might be the most entertaining wedding you’ve ever experienced, with maybe the exception of that of the prince in Monty Python’s “The Search for the Holy Grail.”

The choreography, by Kathyrn Van Meter, is stunning throughout the play. And during the romp, you may feel like you’re watching a frenetic tennis match.

But it’s the laughter that reigns supreme here, starting with the multitalented and hysterically funny Eric Ankrim, who plays Frederick and Prince Alphonse with just the right amount of smarm, charm and finesse. And kudos to him for his super quick switching places with Casey Raiha, who is splendid in his role as the prince’s body double, even though you only see the back and sides of him until the curtain call.

Not to be outdone in the funny department is Jose J. Gonzales, who plays Prince Dijon with great wit and joy. You’ll laugh every time you think of him long after the play is over, despite his short time onstage.

Add in Nick DeSantis, hilarious in his role here, and Mark Carr as Sergei’s sidekicks. Class? You decide.

And the voices of everyone in the ensemble are just wonderful, both in the solos and the soaring choruses.

You’ll not want to miss a minute of “The Gypsy King,” and you’ll likely want to see it again and again.

If you go

‘The Gypsy King’

-Village Theatre’s Francis J. Gaudette Theatre

-303 Front St. N.

-Through April 25

-$19 – $59

-392-2202 or www.villagetheatre.org

Village Theatre announces 2010-11 Mainstage Season

Get ready for a thrilling 2010-11 season at Village Theatre.

“The Full Monty”

Sept. 15-Oct. 24

Based on the internationally acclaimed film, this grin-and-bare-it comedy tells the story of six unemployed steelworkers on the verge of a bold plan to get themselves out of debt.

“Anne of Green Gables”

Nov. 10-Jan. 2

This charming musical is based on the best-selling novel. Witness Anne’s transformation from a playful young girl to a confident young woman as she finds her way into the hearts of everyone she meets.

“Sleuth”

Jan. 19-Feb. 27

A bizarre cat-and-mouse game of robbery spirals into a complex duel of wits and deception when wealthy mystery novelist Andrew Wyke invites young Milo Tindle into his home. Packed with twists and turns, this Tony Award-winning puzzle keeps you guessing to the deadly end.

“Iron Curtain”

March 16-April 24

The Soviets set out to create a Broadway musical, and bring in real New York writers — by force, if necessary. An uproarious and upbeat score, with laughs at every corner.

“Jesus Christ Superstar”

May 11-July 3

Extraordinary rock opera, by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, highlights the struggles of Jesus of Nazareth and Judas Iscariot during the last week of Jesus’ life.

Village Theatre subscription packages are available now for Issaquah and Everett. This year’s subscription offers five shows for the price of four. General admission packages range between $130 and $240 per person in Issaquah. Additional discounts are available for seniors over 65 and youths under 21.

Single tickets will be on sale throughout the season prior to the opening of each show. Call 392-2202 or go to www.villagetheatre.org.

Kathleen R. Merrill: 392-6434, ext. 227, or editor@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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