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“Call Me Ned” a cool way to celebrate Grandpa Who?

Peak to Peak Players Serve Up History and Laughter

By David Josselyn

The Peak to Peak Players just wrapped another great performance with “Call Me Ned,” a musical farce featuring the ice man himself, Grandpa Bredo Morstol, which played three times during the 2019 Frozen Dead Guy Days festival at the Backdoor Theatre. The Players are comprised of life-long thespians and dramatic hobbyists alike which is reflected in the divergence of acting quality, but made up for in energy, enthusiasm, audience interaction, and a love of the craft.

The Plot

The story begins with modern-day Nederland folks preparing for the upcoming Frozen Dead Guy Days festival and focuses on Billie, played by Amanda Wacholz, the kid who had one job; to keep Grandpa Bredo frozen. Once a month, Billie would haul ice to the Tuff Shed to keep the temperature below freezing. This month, the hapless Billie was distracted by an urgent call and not only forgot to ice the old man, but also never replaced the lock. True to myth, when baffled Grandpa, played by Chuck Roberts, thawed out, he got up and walked out the shed not knowing where or when he was. Meanwhile, the townsfolk were flummoxed about the apparent kidnapping of their favorite frosted Norwegian and feared this would be the final festival. Bredo recognizes a solution which would save the festival and give hope to his new-found friends.

The Good

Writers Patrice LeBlanc and Ed Schoenradt know the concept is outlandish and framed the musical as a tongue-in-cheek look at the festival and the good folks of Nederland, honoring their quirkiness while cultivating as many laughs as possible along the way. The boilerplate choreography provided a constant flow of energy to carry the story through some otherwise dead spots of exposition. Doug Fisichella, who played Curt the guitar guy, showcased his talent with songs laying out the history of Grandpa Bredo and the festival. Amanda Wacholz, who played Billie, was very convincing as an absent-minded woman desperate to hang on to the only job which she excelled. Chuck Roberts uses a strait-laced approach to Grandpa Bredo, so when he begins to dance as Doug sings, it is intensely hilarious. The frosting on the cake is the sight gags littered throughout. Dutch Van Deuchen, who plays chorus member number two, is seen with different hats and sunglasses each time he comes on stage. Perhaps the sweetest part of the play is hearing Adrienne Griggs enchanting voice singing about the wonderful things you can do during Frozen Dead Guy Days backed up by the antagonistic chorus singing about the money the festival makes.

The Bad

There is not much to be said that was bad, but if I had to gripe, there are two things to mention. The first is the sound leveling was inconsistent almost drowning out Amanda’s voice as she sang about all her past jobs. The second is that Grandpa Bredo’s ponderous song was too much of the same too many times over; I was ready for it to end long before it did.

In Summary

“Call Me Ned” delivers a solid hour of laughter and entertainment that is well worth the time to see. As the inaugural Frozen Dead Guy Days musical, the Players only asked for donations and did not charge a fee, but the entertainment value presented would have been well worth a ticket fare. My lovely daughter rates the musical four and half out of five Tuff Sheds and I rate it a frozen solid four out of five beards. The Peak to Peak Players will be presenting “Romeo and Juliet” later this May and June; and then “Shrek the Musical” at the end of July. They also have two summer camps for 2nd to 12th grades which culminate in full-blown productions. Come check them out at every opportunity!

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