"GILLIGAN'S ISLAND REVUE" THIS SUMMER'S OLIO-ON-STEROIDS
photo by Gawne Photography

From left, Samantha Cormier, Brittany Mazur, Jesus Limon, Brian Paradis, Steve Wood and Cait Rudd.


For you, was watching “Gilligan's Island” a part of growing up? If so, then make plans to wear your best flip-flops and sea-going Hawaiian shirt up to the Gaslight Music Hall in Oro Valley to catch the “Gilligan's Island Revue,” presented with lots of corny jokes and no TV commercials.

This is another of the Gaslight Music Hall's expanded olio shows built on the eastside Gaslight Theatre's own olios that follow every mainstage melodrama performance. “The olio on steroids,” they call it.

Super-animated and probably over-caffeinated, Brian Paradis has the role of Gilligan with his trademark red shirt and sailor hat turned up in front. He is the one who makes everything happen, so it's only appropriate that “Rock the Boat” would be the first song.

Samantha Cormier is the director and Kathryn Byrnes the writer/choreographer, so it's a given  everything will be kept lighthearted and loose. In this nautical narrative, the puns also come in waves.

This one is my favorite: Did you hear what happened when the red ship collided with the blue ship? All the sailors were marooned.

Jesus Limon as the voluble Skipper does his part to keep the show afloat, always wearing that yachting cap at a jaunty angle so we know who is in charge.

Brittany Mazur brings the glamour as Ginger the movie star eager for her close-up. Cait Rudd plays down-to-earth Mary Ann, who could be a little sweet on Gilligan.

Steve Wood does double duty as both the wealthy Mr. Howell and the brainy Professor, bringing some gravitas to the stage. Cormier steps in from time to time as snooty Mrs. Howell.

There is a bit of a plot and the scenes bringing Wood and Cormier together kick everything up a notch. There is no shortage of songs, with 22 titles on the play list, stretching from “Midnight at the Oasis,” done vigorously by Ginger, to a very funny “I Got You, Babe” when Mr. and Mrs. Howell do their finest impression of Sonny and Cher.

Chronologically, the good ship Minnow crashes ashore right after the cast opens the show by singing all the verses to the “Gilligan's Island” TV theme. There's some other stuff going on but most of the plot is driven by the Professor doing his best imitation of MacGyver, combining “science and luck” to come up with various attempts to save this shipwrecked gang and get them back to civilization.

There's the homemade surf board experiment, the coconut radio, the message in a bottle (with song to match) tossed into the sea. But then Gilligan finds the bottle washed back ashore and convinces himself there is another shipwrecked party somewhere else on the island.

By then it is intermission. When everybody comes back, the five-piece Gilligan's Island Revue Band gets to do “Iko Iko” and “Woolly Bully.” That gets everyone clapping so vigorously, Gilligan shouts, “Let's put on a show.”

Ginger and Mary Ann work out on “Nowhere to Run.” The Skipper, the Professor and Gilligan get into the island's calypso rhythms on “Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” and “Jump in the Line.”

Note to parents: As always there is a number performed for the kids to get on stage with the cast. This is the time to get out your phones and take lots of photos.

The “Gilligan's Island Revue” plays on select Thursdays and Sundays through Aug. 17 at the Gaslight Music Hall, 13005 N. Oracle Road in Oro Valley. Tickets are $19.95 adults; $17.95 students, seniors and military; $9.95 for children ages 2-12. For specific show times, details and reservations, 520-529-1000, or visit www.thegaslightmusichall.com

GASLIGHT'S "SPIDER-GUY" HAS A REAL WEB ADDRESS
photo by Brian Gawne

Dr. Cornelius Crocodilious (Mike Yarema) looks worried, but the Green Gremlin (Todd Thompson) is no match for Spider-Guy (Jake Chapman).

Leaving no superhero unexplored, “The Incredible Spider-Guy” is flying high at Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway. Always a favorite of the younger set, this web-slinging admirer of the arachnid lifestyle brings the admonition that “Tremendous strength requires tremendous accountability.”

Considering how troubled our own times can seem on television, radio, the internet news and all social media, this admonition bears repeating several times – for which the Gaslight gang is happy to oblige.

To tell this high-tech tale, special effects fill the versatile Gaslight stage. From a rumbling subway car to a towering executive suite to the agile Spider-Guy himself traveling on those sticky strands of silken steel (or so it seems) – to finding time for various cast members to break into a bluesy version of the Isley Brothers' “Shout” and “Sooner or Later (Love Is Gonna Get Ya)” – Spidey seems destined to be together with Mary Lou Peterson.

Fans of the “Spider-Man” films will be delighted to spot several iconic scenes in this show written and directed by Peter Van Slyke. My personal favorite is the first kiss that Spider-Guy shares with Mary Lou as he hangs upside down at just the right height to receive her attention.

Not to be forgotten either is that jet glider kind of thing flown as an attack aircraft by the villainous Mathias Maxwell, quickly changing from his tailored business suit to become the fearsome Green Gremlin, determined to squash Spider-Guy.

Although all the Gaslight roles are double and triple cast, at the performance I attended Todd Thompson played the glowering Maxwell/Gremlin. Some of the flying escapades are good enough to extend the reputation for highly imaginative low-tech stage designs by Tom Benson.

Boyish Jake Chapman dons the bright red and blue spider suit, adding his own agility bounding from wall to wall.

The cast member with the coolest name is Mike Yarema as Dr. Cornelius Crocodilious. He's only a high school science teacher but working on his own time and over weekends he has invented the powerful Molecular Actuator.

It is so powerful he has no idea how powerful it is. Of course we know it will be science student nerd Billy Baker whose molecules get so actuated he becomes Spider-Guy.

Adding still more energy to these shenanigans, just because she can, is Erin Thompson as Mackenzie Maxwell, one of Billy's classmates.

“The Incredible Spider-Guy” runs through August 27, with performances at various times Tuesdays through Sundays at the Gaslight Theatre, 7010 E. Broadway. Tickets are $19.95 adults; $17.95 students, seniors and military; $9.95 children 2-12. For details and reservations, 520-886-9428, or visit thegaslighttheatre.com