The Lake Country Playhouse Presents First Date
By Livia Peterson
The Performance Venue Review
Lake Country Playhouse, located in Hartland, Wisconsin provides an intimate black box theater, akin to the Milwaukee Rep's Stiemke Studio and the Broadway Theatre Center's Studio Theater. The performance space provides an up close and personal view to the actors. The prior performance announcement and programs are similar to what one would find in professional theater. Ultimately, Lake Country Playhouse is a charming community theater. A-
The Production Review
The community theater may provide a negative connotation to some folks, including myself. However, Lake Country Playhouse somewhat smashed my extremely low expectations and shifted my perspective, regarding community theater. Indeed, it helped meeting and conversing with the development director Tarolyn Fulkerson prior to the performance.
Led by Ami Majeskie's brilliant direction, First Date explores initial, blind, and scheduled dates. Casey and Aaron (Kiera Matthews and Matt Ragalie) gather at Beer Snobs Ale and Eats (production sponsor) to dine and establish a friendship. Ella Folkerts, Morgan Aria Clarey, Keith R. Smith, Matt Kuhnen, and Danny Slattery portray multiple characters, including the former girlfriend, former boyfriend, former fiancee, mother, father, therapist, and the like.
Ms. Matthews and Mr. Ragalie's impeccable performances and chemistry is the obvious highlight during the production. Moreover, the ensemble provides equally sensational performances. Despite the ensemble lacks complete character development, one is bound to undeniably root for Casey and Aaron to date several times.
Despite the lackluster scenic design (the photos are suspended via sturdy paper clips) and costume design (every day dresses, suits, and the like), Jake Koch's flawless lighting design and Ashley Sprangers' music direction easily offset the blatant flaws. The production flaws are pretty typical for community theater and hence, forgivable.
Considering First Date is a Wisconsin premiere production, Lake Country Playhouse delivered a professional quality production. Ultimately, First Date is a cute and delightful production and therefore, irresistible to skip. B
First Date continues through Sunday, July 22, 2018.
Lake Country Playhouse
221 East Capitol Drive, Hartland WI 53029