In spite of an impossible plot and an implausible ending, Thoroughly Modern Millie manages to be more fun than a barrel of monkeys.
Directors Scott Beseman and Mary McGreaham have put together an entrancing musical show at the Knock 'Em Dead Dinner Theatre, complete with lively tap dancing, gorgeous chorus girls, incredible costumes and a fantastic cast.
Mallory Shiflet takes the title role and soars to dazzling heights as Millie Dillmount, who flees Kansas determined to live the modern life (circa 1920s) in the Big Apple. She intends to marry her rich boss, whoever he may be. Shiflet sparkles with energy and talent, and skillfully keeps the thin plot line from collapsing in on itself.
Aiding her are two players who distinguished themselves last summer at the Starlight Mountain Theatre in Garden Valley. Sterling Blackwell is absolutely charming as Jimmy Smith, the personable paperclip salesman who wins Millie's heart in spite of herself. And prim and perky Michelle Hudson, with her fabulous voice, is delightful as Miss Dorothy Brown, an orphan who, like Mille, comes to live at the Priscilla Hotel for Women. With her bobbing blonde curls and sparkling pink dress, she has no trouble capturing the eye of Millie's pompous boss, portrayed with brisk comic flair by Aaron Smith.
But the hotel is where the hilariously sinister and silly Mrs. Meers, portrayed as a flamboyant villainess by Kathryn Shields, runs not only the hotel, but also a white slave ring, aided by her two kidnapped Hong Kong lads, Ching Ho (John McCrostie) and Bun Foo (Taylor Wuerth). Their song about bringing their beloved mother to America, is sung in Chinese to the tune of "Mammy" and is explained in overhead English subtitles, which really convulsed the audience.
Among the many excellent performances in the large cast are the songs by Beverly Carothers, who plays nightclub singer Muzzy Van Hossmere with elegance, glitter and pizazz; and the comic rants and raves by Dani Coles as the red-wigged Miss Flannery. Even Barbara Beautrow, a past president of the Boise Little Theater, is a great flapper, dancing and singing with the ensemble and appearing in other roles.
Add to the delightful entertainment of Thoroughly Modern Millie a splendid Cornish game hen dinner with all the trimmings, served by cast members and Boise's best waiter, Dean Arant, and you have an evening with which to chase away the cold weather blues.
In all, it is a great bubbly confection of a show, with music so peppy it's hard to sit still, costumes in eye-candy colors, clever staging and non-stop laughter.
Thoroughly Modern Millie by Richard Morris and Dick Scanlan; music by Jeanine Tesori. Directed for KED by Scott Beseman and Mary McGreaham. At the Knock 'Em Dead Dinner Theatre, 333 S. 9th St. Thur.-Sat. through Nov. 11; free parking at rear of building. Thur.: 7 p.m., show only--$16.50 general; $13.50 students and seniors and military personnel. Fri.-Sat.: Dinner at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.; dinner and show $35.50; show-only tickets $18.50 sold at door. Anyone with a valid student ID may purchase discounted tickets beginning 10 minutes before curtain time: Thur. (7 p.m. curtain): $6.75; Fri.-Sat. (8 p.m. curtain): $9.25 (a $1.50 ticketing convenience fee will be added to all ticket prices). For reservations, call 385-0021 or visit www.kedproductions.org.