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'El Bandito' hangs it up in Pickleville show

Published: Sunday, July 8 2012 4:00 p.m. MDT

THE HANGING OF EL BANDITO REIMAGINED; Pickleville Playhouse, Garden City, through Sept. 8, picklevilleplayhouse.com, 2 hours 15 minutes, one intermission.

GARDEN CITY, Utah — It seems people never tire of the Bandito and, in fact, keep urging this naughty, flippant, completely funny character on.

Even when he's captured and standing with a hangman's noose around his neck, he's unbowed and unrepentant. He jokes with the audience and carries on as if he's never in any real danger.

But then, that's the charm of Juanito Bandito (played by T.J. Davis) in “The Hanging of El Bandito Reimagined.” He's clueless and charming.

Behind that handlebar mustache lies a true mischief-maker with absolutely no humility. ("Sometimes the bad guy has to win!" he says.)

In this show, he's bent on exacting revenge and the reward money from Sheriff Rowdy Jackson (played by Derek Davis). He also is romantically pursuing the Indian maiden who saves him from hanging because her father lost money to the Bandito in a game of "Go Fish." The maiden, however, is in love with the sheriff and does a dance on the Bandito's heart.

Meanwhile, his former partner, Kat Sullivan (played by Whitney Davis), is determined to put the Bandito back in jail.

Add in a couple of lunatic sidekicks (Billy Jean Fletcher played by Megan Bagley and Happy T. Dawson played by Eric Sackett) and a completely wacky but wildly talented character by the name of William (played by Jacob Swain) and you have a crazy musical comedy.

Even the piano player, Luke Shepherd, gets into the nonsense as he gets a cellphone call from his mother mid-show.

This is rich fun that includes a life-size pink bunny on stage and "pyrotechnics," despite the Bandito specifically banning all live animals and fireworks.

There are plenty of local jokes and good-natured political jabs, plus a nice sprinkling of exchanges between the Bandito and the audience.

It moves right along with a good sprinkling of dance, rap and song, and even a strobe light instant replay and some ad lib.

“The Hanging of El Bandito Reimagined,” written by T.J. Davis and directed by Andrea and T.J. Davis, is clever, original, comic and full of surprises. It’s a great show for a sunburnt, kick-back kind of crowd looking for something different and completely entertaining.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.

Email: haddoc@desnews.com

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