Desert Star Playhouse brings 'The Lone Stranger' (and Pronto) to life

Published: Monday, June 24 2013 5:02 p.m. MDT

Jeff Jensen is ready to ride in "The Lone Stranger" at the Desert Star Playhouse with his trusty sidekick, "Pronto," played by Rick Miller, shown here, and Matt Mullaney.

Desert Star Playhouse

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THE LONE STRANGER; TRIGGER HAPPY; Desert Star Playhouse, 4861 S. State, Murray; 7 p.m. MWTh, 6 and 8:30 Friday, Saturday with matinees through Aug. 24; directed by Mary Parker Williams and Scott Holman; tickets, 801-266-2600; running time, 2 hours with one intermission and olios

MURRAY — This is truly an "LOL" production.

Not just a chuckler or a smiler, but seriously a "laugh-out-loud" show, as Pronto, the Lone Stranger's sidekick, tries to get around without a horse (because it's a one-horse town, you know, and the marshal has it already) and help Buck Sidesaddle prevent crime.

Matt Mullaney makes the most of his part, wearing face-stripes, a rubber ducky on his head and 24-inch braids as he delivers some great comic lines. He brings out a folded, "blankety-blankey" at one point and consistently cracks everybody up.

Jeff Jensen is Marshal Buck Saddle-sore, or Space-shuttle or whatever the villain wants to call him. He also becomes The Lone Stranger, but because he wears a mask, no one recognizes him. (Wink. Wink.)

Matt Kohler plays the part of Finius Thermador, the baddest villain around, and he plays it deliciously with the wicked laugh, the evil eye and genuinely rotten attitude. "I'm not happy unless you're not happy," he declares.

He's trying to stop Ma Roper (Kerstin Davis) from saving her property and using a couple of really dim outlaws (Spud, played by Bryan Dayley, and Beans, played by Chelsea Hubbard) as his partners in crime.

Ma Roper is mostly "spitting mad," evident in the rocking spittoon behind her. And she has a fun twang to her speech.

A couple of bits in the second half have the audience roaring: when the scenery behind the train shows Pronto hopelessly trying to keep up with what appears to be a full-size locomotive coming down the track toward the damsel in distress (Miss Ellie Greening, played by Mekenzie Heaton).

There are also plenty of local jokes and puns, targeting the usual suspects: BYU, the Utah Jazz, plenty of boos (booze) in Utah and the governor, who doesn't know a crime's been committed until after it's too late.

Some are just so stupid it hurts and others are very clever, the kind you don't see coming.

"'Give,' Said the Little Stream" gets some stage time, and Flossie, the barmaid played by Carli Christoffersen, breaks into song at every turn so you hear a little "I Will Follow Him" and similar rock ’n’ roll ditties thoughout the show.

Here's a rollicking fun show for the summer followed by olios that include a song that makes fun of the local language and songs that show off the vocal talent and range in this crazy cast.

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

Email: haddoc@deseretnews.com

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