Theater Review - 'Blackpool and Parrish' laughs in the face of the apocalypse

Out of Box Theatre's latest production is a comedic take on the battle of good versus evil

The battle of good and evil has never been this deliciously funny. Blackpool and Parrish centers on the age-old battle between good, represented by Rachel Parrish (played by Kristin Kalbli), and evil, in the form of Harry Blackpool (Bob Smith), as the characters face off at a (very) private club on the eve of Armageddon. The title characters are looking to bestow their roles upon their successors, but in the midst of all this, the club manager attempts to maintain some equilibrium.

Given the fairly broad nature of the comedy, director Zip Rampy believes that teenagers as well as adults would enjoy the themes, and the uniquely intimate space at the Marietta theater should make all audience members feel as though they are an active part of the experience. Rampy notes that, while he's always drawn to comedies, this piece is especially interesting. "At its core it's the whole debate about free will versus destiny," he says. "To be able to look at that discussion from a funny viewpoint and not get too bogged down from the philosophy of it is a really fascinating discussion."

As the main characters toss around the future of the world between them, the club manager comes to represent the voice of humanity (and to some degree, the audience) as he tries to give mere mortals a voice in the debate. Rampy was impressed at how many talented actors auditioned for the show, given that Out of Box is a relatively small company located outside the Perimeter, and the play is not frequently performed. He says the cast brought a "creativeness and ingenuity," opening his eyes to details he didn't first pick up on when reading the script.

If you're not familiar with Out of Box, Rampy says that most of the company's staff began their careers in community theater, but they all had a passion and drive to bring more challenging shows to audiences outside of the Perimeter. Regardless of what metro area digs you're coming from, Rampy's hope is that with productions such as Blackpool and Parrish, audiences will walk away from the theater laughing but also with something to think about, more than just the passing memory of a pleasant evening.

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