The Placer Performance Calendar


Great Local Shows - Theatrical Reviews

Title The Pink Panther Strikes Again
Organization Sutter Street Theatre
Date(s) of show May 14-June 5, 2016
Reviewer Sallee Kallenbach
Review I can appreciate that Sutter Street Theatre will try just about anything. This includes the quirky slapstick comedy The Pink Panther Strikes Again, adapted for the stage from the third in the series of Blake Edwards' and Frank Waldman's The Pink Panther films starring Peter Sellers as the bungling French Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Although the The Pink Panther was originally centered around the pink diamond of the same name, this script contained no mention of the diamond and exhibited a topsy-turvy plot written around innumerable physical comedy gags which epitomized a very 1960s-1970s vibe. Basically, this story involves the former Chief Inspector Dreyfus, who having been driven to a mental breakdown by Inspector Clouseau, is given a clean bill of health by the psychiatrist only to be driven into becoming a maniacal assassin when he meets with Clouseau again.

At the top of the show, a quartet of women dressed up in cutesy pink panther costumes did a stealthy opening dance number and then conveniently became the stage crew for the rest of the play. Heading up this group of furtive felines was choreographer Dian Hoel, whose swishes and tail twirling made the myriad of set changes more entertaining. A versatile company of actors embodied multiple wacky characters, from club hipsters to thugs to German barmaids, while the bragging and bumbling police detective, Inspector Clouseau, played cleverly by the appealing Eddie Madrigal, sashayed his way through vignette after vignette of cockeyed schemes and murderous faux pas.

Eddie Nason cackled and moaned as he personified a brutishly droll Dreyfus who vows to destroy the world unless Clouseau is offered to him as a sacrifice. Brandon Hunter was an amusing diversion as Jarvis, the butler whose side job is female impersonator at the local nightclub. Vanessa Voetsch had a winsome quality as Olga the Russian agent, who is sent to murder Clouseau but instead falls madly in love with him. Noteworthy was Stephen Wellman, who gave a focused and convincing performance as Doctor Fassbinder, a scientist kidnapped by Dreyfus and ordered to create a doomsday weapon of mass destruction. Despite some imperfect accents and disjointed scene transitions, I was impressed by the dedication of the actors, the seemingly infinite variety of clever costumes, props and sets, and a long list of flawless sound and lighting cues. Director Blake Flores and his hard-working production staff unquestionably put a lot of elbow grease into linking the pieces of this ticklish burlesque puzzle together. This show left me realizing that a play needn't be all spit and polish. If it has heart and all the players give it personality and meaning, it is a gem. And The Pink Panther Strikes Again is unmistakably a gem.

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