The Arts

The oven mitts are off in The Barn Dinner Theatre’s The Kitchen Witches

DRAMA-MAIN-TheKitchenWitches-Poster

DRAMA-MAIN-TheKitchenWitches-Poster

When two become one isn’t always a good thing, especially when it’s two competitive chefs who are forced to co-host a cooking show. In The Barn Dinner Theatre’s The Kitchen Witches, two put-out cooks air their dirty laundry on the air as they vie for the spotlight.

First of all, if you’ve never made it down to Stage Coach Trail for dinner and a show then you’re missing out. Actually, quite a few people know to visit The Barn Dinner Theatre for a spirited evening, and yet it could still be considered one of Greensboro’s best kept secrets, somewhat tucked away from the downtown arts community. But this past weekend I was reminded not only of how fun their shows are, but how dedicated and passionate the staff are to its community.

The whole way through, from my entry to the door to meeting my dedicated waiter, to listening to the pre-show announcements, I felt cared for. The staff truly thinks through the entire dining and theatre experience to make sure a good time is had by all. Not only were the wait staff incredibly respectful, attentive and accommodating, but the producer and general manager, Ric Gutierrez himself, hones the BDT’s friendly spirit in his announcements, too.

Now I realize it’s a bit ridiculous to include the pre-show announcements in a theatre review, but in this case I had to. I greatly respected how much time Gutierrez took to get to know his audience, calling out every birthday, anniversary and celebration in the crowd. And one might think that it would have gotten old or boring and had a “get on with the show” moment, but Gutierrez’s natural humor and warm demeanor erected quite the opposite. In fact, by the end of the announcements, I felt a part of the audience—like we were in something together. And that’s a hard feeling to come by these days.

Now on to The Kitchen Witches. As its core it’s a pretty simple and silly comedy about two older women who had a falling out over a man long ago. Since then, their long-time friendship has turned into a bitter rivalry that comes to an ugly head on live air. After both of their cooking shows are cancelled, their producer sees an opportunity to bring them both back in the spotlight, but together in a Jerry Springer type fashion. What ensues is a slew of hilarious and very dirty cuts at one another.

Overall, the show was a blast. I laughed and smiled throughout and it was just a great break from a busy week. Susan Jones and April J’Callahan Marshall, who play “the kitchen witches” had a wonderful chemistry and added their own twists of hilarious gestures to their already funny lines. There were a few more tongue-tied moments in the dialogue than I would have expected in a nearly finished run, but the mood at The Barn is so light that I hardly noticed. I can’t stress enough the fullness of the experience there and I would definitely recommend a visit. It’s just a casual, light-hearted way to end the week and share a robust laugh.

There’s only one weekend of performances left for The Kitchen Witches, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to miss out on BDT’s warm spirit and convivial evening. Up next to continue its 53rd season is the comedy, BINGO! The Winning Musical, which runs March 3-31. The hilarious musical features long-time friends and bingo pals Vern, Honey and Patsy, who brave a terrible storm to make it to the annual celebration of the birth of bingo. But when the storm knocks out the power to the Bingo Hall, Patsy and Honey are reminded of the ominous night 15 years ago that began in the same way, but that led to an evening of mishaps and schemes.

This show is a perfect fit for BDT since the audience will get to participate and actually play bingo during the performance.

Wanna go? The Barn Dinner Theatre, located at 120 Stage Coach Trail, Greensboro, presents The Kitchen Witches this week through Sunday and BINGO! The Winning Musical March 3-31. Tickets are $43-$48 and include a buffet dinner. For tickets and more information call 336-292-2211 or visit barndinner.com.

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