This wonderfully quirky show is one of the most delightful, bouncy, and winning 75 minutes spent in theatre this year. The visiting players of the Tricklock Company of New Mexico-just back from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival-bring to the Los Angeles boards their Wild West mini-extravaganza, extolling the career of the young outlaw William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid. Fairly flying under director-actor Joe Peracchio's crisp staging and creative stylizations, the show runs at breakneck pace without becoming breathless.
Here we have a cornucopia of theatrical styles, including a touch of circus, with acrobatics, trapeze work, and clowning commedia/cowboy style; mystical, magical, melodramatic and farcical goings-on; musical numbers with songs of the old, lonely trails, including a somber "Red River Valley"; and an embellished tale of frontier violence. All this is carefully blended with the stories of Billy's (Kevin R. Elder) love for his mother (Kerry Morrigan) and for his sweetheart Dulcinea del Toboso (Kate Schroeder). There are also hints of surrealism with spooky, Spoon River-esque voices from the beyond. This recounting of the legend is quick to note that Billy was a good kid from New York City who, after going West because of his mom's health, is pushed onto a path that leads to gun slingin' and a reputation as a murderer, ironically turning Billy into a hero to many.
The entire ensemble, which also includes Byron Laurie as Wild Bill and Summer Olsson as Delilah Star, is top of the line. The actors present their work with well-learned craftsmanship, high energy, and a giant helping of charm. The design team hits the bull's-eye every time: Jason Mullen's lighting, Aaron May and Casey Mraz's classy set, Kellie Pederson's costumes, Loren Kahn and Isabelle Kessler's puppet, and props by May, Peracchio, Mraz, and Juli Etheridge. Intrinsic to the whole package is the sound design and original compositions by CK Barlow with fiddle performance by Dair Obenshain and music direction by Morrigan.