Melodrama returns to LALT just in time to lift spirits

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Gaby (Joy Reynolds) is behind the bar. Regulars, left to right, Slade (Craig Taylor), TJ (Patrick MacDonald), Dixie (Bresha Ibraimi) and Miguel (Bear Schacht) hang out at Boots. Courtesy/LALT

By BONNIE J. GORDON
Los Alamos Daily Message

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Melodrama returns to Los Alamos Little Theater (LALT) with a Texas bang and twang this weekend.

LALT opens 2022 with the New Mexico premiere of “Boots” by El Pasoans Stephanie Karr and Mark Watts. “Boots” takes place in a small bar in modern Texas called, you guessed it, Boots.

The bar is run by Gaby (Joy Reynolds), our damsel in distress. She risks losing Boots to her evil townsman cousin Izzy (Jasmine Torres) and Izzy’s conniving accountant, Charles (Paul Lewis). Can our hero, rancher TJ (Patrick MacDonald), save the day, with the help of a ragtag crew of bar regulars?

As in any good melodrama, we are not really in the suspense of the outcome. The real fun comes from the characters, played with enthusiasm by this exceptional cast. Reynolds and MacDonald manage to be on their feet without being sappy, showing courage and common sense in the end.

The regulars at the bar are simply splendid. A cheater with a heart of gold, Dixie (Bresha Ibraimi) seems to genuinely love both her husband JB (Fred Berl) and her lover Slade (Craig Taylor). The rivals are a terrific pair of actors and utterly believable as Texans.

Floozy, also with a heart of gold, Wanda (Linda Taylor) is arguably the smartest character in the room beneath her shimmy and heels. In fact, the intelligence beneath the veneer of all the characters is a major theme of “Boots.” These townspeople don’t stand a chance. Taylor steals more than one scene and gets a lot of laughs.

TJ’s pal, Miguel, is played by Bear Schact. Obviously intelligent under a veneer of fear, Miguel is a bit of a mystery. Schact nailed it.

The villains, Izzy and Charles, are also well done. The two have their noses in the air as they proceed to bamboozle the locals. They earn those boos and hisses!

The latest cast member, The Stranger, speaks rhyming verses in a soft Central Texas accent that’s a joy to listen to. You’ll have to go to the play to find out more.

Not exactly characters, but worth mentioning, are pianist Nick Denissen, who delivers music onstage with verve, and singer/card girl Grace Willerton who oozes sexy pleasure with every step.

Director Jim Sicilian did an excellent job with this comedy made of melodrama. His skillful hand is behind the great ensemble work of the characters. The set is perfect, and I’ve been to a lot of bars in Texas so I know.

“Boots” is a great antidote to whatever makes you blue in January. Everyone come !

Catch the New Mexico premiere of “Boots” at 1670 Nectar St. at 2 p.m. on Sunday, January 16 and 7:30 p.m. on January 20, 21, and 22. Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 senior/student and available at Boomerang at 1247 Central Ave., (cash or check only) or at the door 45 minutes before curtain time.

Customers must provide proof of full COVID vaccination or negative COVID test results taken within the last 72 hours. Masks are compulsory for everyone over two years old.

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