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Stage review: 'CSI: Provo' keeps audiences laughing

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 17 2012 4:37 p.m. MST

Corinne Adair, Nick Whitaker and Matt Kohler play a crime-solving trio in Desert Star's "CSI: Provo — Decaffeinated DNA."

Chad Whitlock for Desert Star Playhouse

CSI: PROVO — DECAFFEINATED DNA; Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State St., Murray; written by Ben E. Millet; directed by Scott Holman; now through March 24; $13.95-$17.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 11 and under; tickets at 801-226-2600 or www.DesertStar.biz; running time, 2 hours with one intermission and olios.

MURRAY — It's well known that Utahns and Mormons have their quirks, and the Desert Star Playhouse knows how to utilize them.

"CSI: Provo — Decaffeinated DNA" follows a forgetful UVU science-professor-turned-crime-scene-investigator as he navigates through his first big case and upcoming wedding. Although the storyline itself is simple and somewhat predictable, recurring references to Provo, Mormon and general Utah stereotypes keep the audience interested and laughing from beginning to end.

Professor Gil Grimace, played by Nick Whitaker, is a nasally, immediately endearing nerd outfitted with a bowtie, glasses, slicked-back hair and mismatching shoes. The absent-minded science whiz is engaged to marry the daughter and namesake of BYU coaching legend LaVell Edwards. Yet when he misses their wedding for a third time, Gil fights to solve a homicide case and keep his bride from leaving him for another man.

The scenery throughout provided excellent context. The setting for the Edwards home appropriately looked as if a BYU bomb had exploded, with everything from the wedding decorations to the family's wedding clothes covered in blue and emblazoned with a white "Y."

Naturally, a bit of BYU vs. University of Utah banter was included, giving the audience a chance to cheer for their favorite team.

The music was upbeat and peppered with recognizable tunes such as Dionne Warwick's "Wishing and Hoping" and the 1960s Batman theme song.

Darlene Small, the Relief Society president, mother and assistant forensic scientist played by Kerstin Davis, is perhaps the most comical character. This stereotypical superwoman bakes casseroles for neighbors with stubbed toes, embroiders oven mitts and bags bodies to take to the morgue, all while constantly bouncing the baby permanently harnessed to her chest.

With well-meaning cracks at high council Sunday, ward basketball, the "Good News Minute" and an unexpected appearance by "Kurt Bestor," the audience is likely to experience moments of hysterical laughter and have an overall enjoyable time.

Email: wbutters@desnews.com

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