We had a great opening weekend with terrific crowds. Fun was had by all! Here is what local reviewer, Kelly Hutchings (@TreadintheBoards), thought about the show.
“Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”
By Mitch Albom
Presented by Theatre Huntsville
Directed by Nina Soden and assisted by Eric Soden
Review by Kelly L. Hutchings
My Grandmamma always told me “Never judge a book by its cover”. I was a very opinionated child ( which is probably why I am comfortable writing reviews). Because my family moved a bunch, I noticed differences in people from an early age. Having this early character defect (I have been cured) I probably missed out on meeting a plethora of really awesome people. When I first heard about “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”, a small, childhood, green headed monster popped up whispering in my ear that this was going to be a stupid, make fun of red-necks, silly show. Boy y’all, am I just tickled pink that I put aside, no, flung aside that small, childhood, green headed monster, put on my camos (not really since my Army days), and headed to the VBC in Huntsville to see this lovely gem of a show.
Years ago, I saw Theatre Huntsville’s production of “Fences” starring Percy Littleton and a cast full of insanely talented actors and I thought it was one of the best productions I had ever seen (and I’ve seen theatre around the world). Tonight, I saw a production of just as insanely talented actors producing a show that is so emotionally charged, so well written, so well directed, and performed to the highest standard of any theatre in this country, I knew I had just witnessed one of the best productions of my life. When I say it could be moved up North (Gawd forbid) to Broadway this moment and be a smash hit, I truly do not believe that I am exaggerating.
The problem is, I would be doing you, my faithful readers, a severe injustice if I told you even one morsel of the story line. I will say this, it is so poignant, so thought provoking, so intertwined with twists and surprises, so emotional, that you will walk out of the theatre wondering why you were ever thinking about skipping “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”. Trust me, that would be your biggest mistake of 2017. The only thing I’m going to let slip about the show is that it pokes fun at just about everyone. Whether you are black, white, straight, gay, a Northerner, a Southerner or an Auburn fan (a big ol’ Roll Tide is part of the script), you will be mentioned. The “poking” isn’t really derogatory though, it’s more of a “learning to accept others” type lesson. We can all use that type of a lesson every once in a while, so don’t be offended.
I can tell you a little about the acting and the set and the transitions from scene to scene, all worthy of a Wings Award (Huntsville Theatre’s answer to The Oscars). The Leading man, Paul Ferguson (Sandy), is as natural as they come. Picture a Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Al Pacino, and Phil Parker (local talent) all rolled into one. Paul Ferguson is that good and I’m not lyin’ to ya. I swear it on my grand mama’s holy bible. He is supported by an equally talented cast with Tyler England (Duwell), Josh Phillips (Duane), Jeremy Woods (Lenny), Art Walthall (Lester), Junior Lindsey (Phil), Kailey Burkhardt (Kansas), Stacy Neuberger-Von Hoffman (The Woman), and Dan Hollenbaugh (voice/loan officer). Each has developed their character to believable levels and each gave an absolutely stellar performance.
The stage is a masterpiece. I really felt like I was in an Alabama swamp sans the nasty mosquitoes. Thank you for not adding those. In-depth research was obviously done and it really payed off. Kudos to Gina White and her crew for a beautiful setting, again, I see another Wings Award leaning towards “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”. Lighting (Cynthia Meyer) and Sound Mixing (Gordon Williamson) added to the total ambience of this South Alabama swamp. Disney’s ”Pirates of the Caribbean” ride is envious and wants their set back. Makeup (Laura Noblitt) and costumes (Pam Anders) were spot on for this region. Suffice it to say, everyone involved with this production are professional, caring, top notch people wanting to bring North Alabama the best theatrical experience possible.
The program was missing one character which deserves its own mention and biography. It’s the car! Absolutely brilliant!!!!!! I loved, loved, loved it. The tracks that this car are laid on are masterful. I don’t know I was just impressed by the entire idea of it because it is something that I have never seen in a Theatre Huntsville production.
When a director takes on a show, they do so with a vision. This vision is from the works of author Mitch Albom. He has written a few novels such as “Tuesday with Morrie”, “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”, “Have a Little Faith”, and “For One More Day” and is a columnist for “the Detroit Free Press”. He is an American author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio and television broadcaster, and musician. You would think, since he nailed the southern idiosyncrasies perfectly, he would be from the South, but he’s not. He’s a Northerner from Passaic, New Jersey. Nina and Eric Soden, as director and assistant director had to take the author’s vision and bring it to life. This, they achieved. They achieved it with beauty, grace and love. Thank you for your time, your patience and your love for this literary piece. It will be remembered for years to come.
I know I didn’t give you much in the way of the story line, but I hope that I conveyed to you the importance, the elegance, the hard work, and the grace of this show. When I leave a theatre with laughter in my heart and tears of joy in my eyes, I just need desperately to share it. I have never begged for anyone to go and see a show before, but please, please, please go see “Duck Hunter Shoots Angel”. You will be so happy that you did.
Until next time, keep Treadin’ the Boards!
5 out of 5.
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