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June 18, 2019:

Gunfight at the Not-So-OK Saloon reviewed by Rob Stevens

Gilbert & Sullivan may have written their final operetta in 1896 but Brooke deRosa has deliciously revived their style of musical theatre in the rambunctious Gunfight at the Not-So-Ok Saloon at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. This wonderful entertainment is set in the Wild West where men are drunks and horny while the women are loose and available for a price. Into the Saloon wanders young, innocent Chance (Jonathan Matthews) who has spent years searching every little town for his lost love, a sweet young girl who shared the same nun staffed orphanage as himself. When they were separated, they promised to stay pure and true to each other until reunited. Unfortunately, Hope (Jade Bates) is now the Saloon’s highest priced hooker and under the domination of the town’s Sheriff (Phil Meyer). Helpful Madame Netty (Nandani Sinha) tries to erase Hope’s indiscretions but it’s a mite difficult when the whole saloon crowd knows the truth. But it is fun getting everyone to sing their way to a happy ending.

Jennifer Clymer has directed with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The pace never slackens and the show is over much too soon. The cast all possess strong voices—the three customers (Jason Chacon, Spencer Frankeberger and Anthony Moresi) as well as the three working girls (Monica Allan, Jessie Massoudi and Rosa Evangelina). Christopher Anderson-West adds to the shenanigans as bartender and stand-up comic Floyd. Meyer and Sinha contribute to the melodic fun but it is Matthews’s thrilling tenor and Bates’s soaring soprano and their comic timing that really sells this show. I would have gladly spent more time in the Not-So-Ok Saloon with this merry band.


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