PLAY REVIEW: GHS production of ‘Flash Gordon’ takes audience to another world
GREENVILLE — The Retro Radio Show returns to the Greenville Performing Arts Center this weekend.
Starting in 2012 with a performance of the famous Orson Welles radio show “The War of the Worlds,” the GHS Theatre production now goes to the planet Mongo with “Flash Gordon.”
“When we decided to do a follow up to last year’s successful show, ‘Flash Gordon’ was a natural choice,” said Chris Chapman, GHS Auditorium manager and co-director of the production. “‘War of the Worlds’ was a straight drama and ‘Flash Gordon’ lets our students perform four episodes from this classic radio serial.”
The cast of 17 students zooms through the four episodes with style, humor and excitement. Flash Gordon (Jared Loomis) and his girlfriend Dale Arden (Alisha Gatchel) are swept up in adventure when they are forced aboard Dr. Hans Zarkov’s (Sam Moss) rocketship. They are off to save Earth from the clutches of Ming the Merciless (Caleb Kellogg). Flash and Dale encounter many of the wild inhabitants of the planet Mongo, including Princess Aura (Meagan Draper), Prince Barin (Andrew Geer), Lion Man Prince Thun (Scott Scripter) and Vultan, King of the Hawkmen (Phil Rewa).
Co-directed by Larry Moss, the ensemble fills in many of the live sound effects of the show, and plays all of the smaller roles in the production. From chanting slaves, to armed guards, watching the ensemble is great fun.
Each episode ends with an exciting cliffhanger, leaving the audience wondering how Flash and his friends will survive. Wonderful sound effects and music are created by sound crew Emily Mulder and Deserai Kent. A wonderful addition to the radio show is the original comic strip art of Alex Raymond that is projected behind the cast. It’s fascinating to watch and listen to the radio dialog go right along with the original comic strip. The comic strip art was set up by the projection crew of Kaitlyn Wietsma and Greg Pribble. Finally, evocative lighting adds to the theatricality of the production as well.
“Flash Gordon” is a unique production that is a very enjoyable hour-long production. The show is a fundraiser for the GHS Auditorium Renovation Project, where all funds go to replacing and improving equipment at the Greenville Performing Arts Center.