A Utah Theater Review by Rebecca Gunyan
I’m not ashamed to admit I’m a huge Twilight fan. I own all the books and have attended the midnight showing of all the movies. I even have an Edward Barbie doll (cheesy I know, but a really huge inside joke). I am also a BYU graduate (GO COUGS!) with a healthy rivalry between friends who are Utes fans. In short, I couldn’t wait to watch Y-Light at the Off Broadway Theatre in Salt Lake.
The premise is simple. Ella Swoon (Alisa Rodgers) attends BYU where she meets the incredibly stunning Sullen family, including the brooding Edmund (Zach Reynolds). Her best friend Jacob Brown (Apollo Stephenson) is a Beer Wolf at the U. The story is narrated / read by Dracula (Eric R. Jensen), who wants to understand why his three vampire brides are all crazy for Edmund. What ensues is chaos and hilarity as the mockery begins.
If you are going to watch a perfectly tight performance, this is definitely not the show for you. There were sound issues, actors missing cues, and long scene changes. However, if you are going to watch a play that will make you laugh so hard your stomach hurts, this is by far the best one to see. I cannot say enough how much I loved this play!
Rodgers is the character who made me laugh the most. As she began her narrative, “I couldn’t understand why everyone thought I was strange…” her body movements mocked Bella from the movies, pouty face, hair flip and all. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Rodgers represents everything that is ridiculous about the Twilight movies.
The members of the Sullen clan were delightful to watch. Without a lot of speaking lines, the actors embodied the most striking characteristics of the Cullens, including many well-aimed quips and one line zingers that made the show farcical. Reynolds was a perfect Edmund at the beginning, but towards the end, I felt like he was breaking character a bit. He obviously loved being on the stage.
Of course the play would not have been complete without the Beer Wolves, led by the darling Stephenson. He was such a silly Jacob. My favorite scene was the one in the tent. “Can you read my mind? Are you reading it? Are you? Canoodling…?” I was dying. He was awesome.
Rounding out the cast were the vampire wives. Their leader Fangoria (Alexis Owen) was amazing. She was delightful to watch as she moved with ease across the stage.
The play was well written, with show stopping tunes like “New Moon Eclipse Breaking Dawn” (Total Eclipse of the Heart) and Ella and This Guy with Diamonds (Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds). I was impressed that the actors on stage were always interacting with each other. I felt like each person had an important reason for being on the stage.
The only part of the play that brought it out of the professional level to me was the ad-libbing that the actors did. There were a couple of scenes that seemed to last forever, like the spider monkey scene, but they were also the scenes the audience loved the best. I asked Reynolds about it after the play. He said that if the audience is engaged, they will keep playing along. During this particular showing, Dracula just refused to die. He kept coming off and on the stage, with new lines. By the time he was done, the actors looked at each other and said, “Now, where were we?”
In most venues, this would be a problem. At the OBT, I thought the playfulness fit perfectly. I left the show with the hugest smile on my face. The costumes were perfect, the script well-written, and the actors delightful. My husband enjoyed the play as well, and he’s never read the books. He didn’t understand as many of the quips as I did, but he laughed his way through most of the scenes. I would recommend this play for all audiences. I’m planning on going back for sure.
The play has showings on Friday, Saturday and Monday nights through October 29th. Shows begin at 7:30. Don’t miss the opportunity to cheer for your favorite team!