Zany zingers and constant comedy run rampant through Olympic Theatre Arts' latest production, “Bullshot Crummond.”
The British comedy by Ron House, Diz White, John Neville-Andrews, Alan Shearman and Derek Cunningham runs three weeks, starting with a discount preview night Thursday, July 5.
“It's a parody, a spoof, a living cartoon with some melodrama that's so fast, so fun with non-stop action,” says director Debbie Embree.
The play follows Captain Hugh “Bullshot” Crummond — played by David Toman — a British officer on the trail of his rival, the nefarious Otto Von Brunno “the second most dangerous man in Europe,” played by Dave McInnes.
Von Brunno and his henchwoman Lenya, played by Alexandria Edouart, crash land in England looking for a formula to manufacture diamonds.
From the beginning, characters change disguises, the plot twists and turns, and hilarity ensues.
Part of “Bullshot Crummond's” charm is its 1930s movie set and low-level special effects — a plane crash, a car chase, over-the-top fights and foaming drinks.
“It's tongue-in-cheek and camp,” Embree said. “It's a contagious kind of laughter. In a time of bad things happening in the news, it's so different that you can't help but laugh.”
The cast includes Toman, McInnes, Edouart, Embree, Garrett Hess, Brice Embree, and Steve Schultz. Three actors take on multiple parts, as in the original production. Some scenes even involve multiple costume changes.
“Something fun can happen every few seconds,” Embree said. “At an hour and 40 minutes, it goes by in a blink.”
Stage technicians are every bit a part of the play, Embree said.
Actors react to corny sound effects and music. They even help with quick scene changes.
“An average scene shift is 29 seconds,” she said. “Speed is of the essence.”
Right & Proper
Toman returns to OTA's production after a few years away from the stage.
After doing multiple acting events in the area, he needed a break but recently rekindled his acting fire.
He auditioned open to the idea of taking any part. He quickly learned after being asked to take on the lead that he'd be tumbling and fighting.
“Thankfully, I'm flexible,” Toman joked.
For Bullshot, he's taken on an English accent of sorts.
“I can do a bad Cockney, but the accent is a work in progress,” he said. “It comes and goes.”
For an evening, he studied with a production manager's family member and was forced to talk in only proper English.
Embree said the play is complex with its range of characters — from a Scotland yard man with a lisp to a Chicago gangster to a one-armed policeman to a hunchbacked man.
As the antagonist, McInnes said he's found his broken German accent somewhat of a challenge: he must remember to use words like “und” instead of “and.”
“I doubt any Germans in the crowd will be bothered by my German,” McInnes joked.
Both Toman and McInnes find their favorite character in Marovitch, a man with a hump played by Garrett Hess. Toman's favorite scene involves Bullshot being beaten up by Marovitch.
McInnes likes the play and its corny, unexpected humor and how everything flows together.