REVIEW (EncoreMichigan.com): Theatre Nova’s ‘Popcorn Falls’

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 1.24.50 PM.pngWhen an economically depressed town is at its breaking point, and residents are scrambling for solutions, you wouldn’t expect the fiscal-strategy-of-choice to involve opening a theater. But in the quirky, offbeat world of James Hindman’s Popcorn Falls, now being staged at Theatre Nova, that’s the scenario. In order to access funds earmarked for the arts, the Kernels – which is what Popcorn Falls’ residents call themselves – must come together and put on a show.

Formerly a tourist destination, the beleaguered town has come on hard times since a dam diverted the (former) falls’ water elsewhere. A new mayor, Mr. Trundle (Jeff Priskorn), works with his colleague and friend, Joe (Jonathan Jones), to create a play from scratch, cast it, and present it, all within a few days’ time.

Priskorn and Jones not only play the characters mentioned above, but also several eccentric townspeople, plus a cigar-chomping power broker from a neighboring town who’s calling the shots. Because Mayor Trundle is the play’s central character, Priskorn only occasionally ventures into other personas, while Jones must be a kind of turbo-chameleon, quickly shifting gears in nearly every scene by changing his voice and posture (and sometimes his cap), to the point of playing both sides of a single conversation.

Though both actors serve Hindman’s material well – well-guided by director Daniel C. Walker – Jones’ is the more wow-worthy performance, simply by virtue of the focused finesse necessary to juggle his many roles. READ THE REST HERE

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