WEATHER »

Good Cooking


The Spitfire Grill

At SBCC, Friday, March 10. Shows through March 25.

“Now it’s time to start again,” sings Percy Talbot, as she takes a bus to Gilead, Wisconsin, to begin a new life. After being released from prison, she heads for a town she chose based on an idyllic photo in a magazine. Gilead, however, is not what she’s conjured up in her dreams; it’s a dead-end place, but Percy still finds that life has meaning. In this heartfelt play, adapted from the 1996 film of the same name, it is not only Percy who is transformed, but the Gilead residents as well.

The cast of seven has a wonderful chemistry, making the intimate, rural atmosphere even more realistic. When gruff diner owner Hannah Ferguson (Katie Thatcher) reluctantly hires Percy (Julie Ann Ruggieri), the two women both guard their emotional walls defensively. Viewed with suspicion, Percy is defiant in front of the diner’s regular visitors, but not for long. Shelby (Holly Ferguson) is drawn to Percy’s independent spirit and a nurturing relationship begins. A beautiful song, “The Colors of Paradise,” shows how well Shelby’s lyricism and Percy’s folksy twang complement each other, just as the characters do. The real healing begins when Percy confesses her crime to Shelby. “I am a wild bird, Shelby!” exclaims Percy, but Shelby embraces her story compassionately. Hannah, too, has a wound to heal but by the end of the first act, the three women have devised a plan to raffle off the diner, and their joyful energy spills over. Their group number, “Shoot the Moon,” is a pure celebration of life.

While the ending brings a resolution that seems perhaps too neat, delightful humor permeates this show. Margaret Prothero is very funny as Effy, a meddling postmistress. As Hannah, Katie Thatcher’s sarcastic quips elicit much laughter. Bill Egan is amusing as a perplexed husband, and Rod Lathim makes the audience feel right at home with his moving song, “This Wide Woods.” Ruggieri, as the show’s lead, delivers a strong performance in the demanding role of Percy.

Rick Mokler has directed another successful musical with his Spitfire Grill — his 43rd directorial assignment for the SBCC Theatre Group. Come to enjoy an uplifting story, an expertly designed set, and the live music, and you will be inspired.

To submit a comment on this article, email letters@independent.com or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email tips@independent.com.



Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Volunteers in Policing Is Looking for 10 Good Men and Women

An eye-opening volunteer program at Santa Barbara Police Department.

Alvarado and Ford File for School Board

Mark M. Alvarado and Kate Ford registered to run for the Santa Barbara Unified school board.

Thousands Received DACA Relief After Lawsuits Filed

Renewal applications have totaled 117,446 since program suspension was overturned.

Bank Robbery Suspect Kills Self in Bathroom

[Update] The suspect in the Goleta Rabobank robbery has been identified as Keith David Goodwin, believed to ...

News-Press’ Found to Owe Union and Employees $2.2 Million

National Labor Relations Board puts money amount on employee losses since 2006.