Friday, February 9, 2018

The Ballad of Klook and Vinette

The American debut of The Ballad of Klook and Vinette has been magnificent! You can still see it at Horizon Theatre through Sunday, February 18, 2018, and believe me, this is one that you do not want to miss! 

Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott
Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott

I've been a Brittany Inge fan for years and will make every effort possible to see anything she's in. She's not only an incredibly talented actress—with a spectacular voice—she's a kind, grateful, and fun human being. As Vinette, she's strong, vulnerable, passionate, hilarious and her beautiful voice is perfect for this role.

British playwright Che Walker, who came across the 'big pond' to direct his play, gives us incredibly sophisticated dialogue, but no so complex that you're not offering the actors a hearty laugh at the appropriate times, of which there are a lot!  

The question has been posed, "Is Klook and Vinette a musical or is it a play with one long song?" The songs meld with the dialogue so well, you sometimes don't realize that a song has started. The lyrics are beautiful and heart-touching, as well as clever as the dialogue.

Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott
Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott

This was my first time seeing Imari Cheatom perform—aside from seeing him in Django Unchained—and I sincerely hope it's not the last! Imari is a shy individual, but a brilliant actor. 

You feel Klook's emotions, particularly the stronger ones, right from your seat. You feel his excitement over meeting Vinette, you feel his love for Vinette, and you feel his love for what he must do in the grand finale. You're going to feel everything!

The set is minimal, lending focus to the performers and the story being told. With that said, the giant 'Phoenician blinds' are used to set incredibly dramatic scenes at the opening and as the play closes. The only props in this play are two wooden stools. They're used quite a lot, but you rarely even notice that they're there. 

Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott
Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Photo by Russell Scott

In its American debut, The Ballad of Klook and Vinette is heartwarming, heartbreaking, hilarious, and saddening. From their hilarious meeting over carrot juice, to Klook's encouragement for Vinette to pursue a previously shelved writing career, to a fire fight with local authorities, you're going on an emotional roller coaster that I believe you will find enchanting and one that touches your heart.

I expect this play to be around for a very long time. It's such that you can plop it down practically anywhere and it'll fit right in. It debuted in London and with the insertion of "Southeast Atlanta" you would never know that it wasn't written for the Atlanta stage.

Christian Magby, the music director and playing keyboards in Klook and Vinette, is an artist of many talents. The first time I met him, he was doing the music for 'Da Kink in My Hair while simultaneously presenting a musical in the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival. He's at it again! While he's working on The Ballad of Klook and Vinette, he's simultaneously rehearsing the role of Adam in Freaky Friday, the next show coming up at Horizon Theatre! 

Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Travis, Brittany, and Elisa
Klook and Vinette | Horizon Theatre | Travis, Brittany, and Elisa

I've said it time and again, one of the things that I LOVE about Horizon Theatre is the post-show opportunity to meet the stars, offer a word of congratulations, and snap a photo with them. In the photo above, that's me, Brittany Inge, and a playwright friend of mine Elisa.

You have only two more weekends to see The Ballad of Klook and Vinette! Get your tickets now to see it by Sunday, February 18 at Horizon Theatre!

Disclaimer: While I am a member of the Board of Directors at Horizon Theatre, the opinions shared here are my own and not influenced by my position or by the theatre. I've been a strong supporter of the performing arts throughout Atlanta for many, many years.

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