By Mark Watson
Charades: the art of representing something through a set of clues, actions and misdirection, creating endless possibilities of unexpected efforts to solve the clues. “Charades at 5,” the upcoming offering by the Panida Theater in its acclaimed Panida Playhouse Dinner Theater series, is a laugh-out-loud funny one-act play that takes online dating, self-representation, perception and desire to an unexpected set of encounters.
Five local actors put on a quick-witted, fast-paced, revealing performance in the Panida Little Theater, just north of the Panida, while the limited seating audience enjoys a catered, gourmet meal. The story twists and turns as we see Max, played expertly by Ron Ragone, meet an impressive CFO and her selected online meetup for the evening… or does he?
As the couple fall in and out of attraction for each other, they also reveal themselves to Max, the bartender, who knows more than he lets on. Once others show up, the swanky bar suddenly seems a bit too crowded with people the couple would rather not be seeing.
The entire show is presented with smooth timing and edgy situations, highlighted by quips and comedy as Max tries to keep order in the rapidly changing reality around him.
It all adds up to an hour or so of modern-day humor, played by local actors that have really put a lot of effort into the production of this play. Excellent performances of the challenging roles include Helen, played by Skye Palmer; Zack, played by Jeremiah Campbell; John Rhys Kensington III, portrayed by Michael Clarke and CFO Helen VanNess, depicted by Miriam Robinson. “Charades at 5” showcases the writing talent of author R.J. Waterman and the Panida Playhouse in serving up a delicious July offering.
Dinner is once again catered by the fantastic Bistro at Home, and is part of the cost of admittance. Seating is limited and menu choices for each person attending needs to be made online when ordering tickets at Panida.org. This is an RSVP only event, to guarantee menu choices and seating availability.
Additional information is available online at Panida.org, or by calling the Panida at 208-263-9191. Performances take place 6 p.m. July 26 and 28.
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