Local playwright creates ‘gem’ of a play

Local playwright creates ‘gem’ of a playFrom left are “Miner’s Diner” castmembers (front) Ariel Meech as Rue B., Katie Merrill as Rosetta Stone, Melina Morgan as Sapphire, Susanna Meech as Dia Mond, Aedre Gilbert as Amethyst and Lacy Roberts as Opal; (back) Justine Mondragon as Pearl, Holly Cosner as Larimar and Joseph Hartman as Mr. Basalt — Courtesy photo



News Review Correspondent

It is crystal clear — “The Catastrophe at the Miners’ Diner or the Misdeeds of the Bloodstone Bandit” is a delightful production for all ages. The play will be presented at Crossroads Community Church as a dinner theater tonight, Feb. 8, at 6 p.m. and as a dessert theater tomorrow, Feb. 9, at noon.

Mallory Cosner, a local 14-year-old playwright, wrote this delightful three-scene dinner theater production when she was only 13. One would never guess her age while watching the production, though, as the material is witty beyond Cosner’s years. With her clever use of rock puns, creative character names and actors who expertly break the fourth wall, Cosner does an excellent job of keeping the audience in rapture and laughter during the entire play.

Under the excellent direction of Heather Weaver, the whole cast weaves Cosner’s story in a way that is both hilarious and intriguing. There are no small parts in this production, as all of the characters work well together to bring the story to life. From the waitresses to the coal miners to the townsfolk, everyone plays a part in a story that leads up to a wonderful conclusion.

Katie Merrill plays Rosetta Stone, a woman struggling to keep her diner afloat, considering that her local diners cannot afford to pay for their food besides what they have in their pockets (which is literally coal, in this case). The solutions to all of Rosetta’s problems may be closer than she realizes, but not if Alastair Bloodstone, played stupendously by Kevin Anderson, has anything to say about it.

Anderson achieves something great with his performance — the ability to bring the audience to stitches whenever he enters the scene. Between his loud, raucous laughter to his deliciously evil nature, Anderson’s performance goes to a nostalgic era of villains past. The tall, black tophat, long black cape and evil mustache are all present — Anderson expertly wears all of the classic villain pieces to create a fun, visual experience for old and young alike.

Alastair’s sister Rue Bloodstone, played wonderfully well by Ariel Meech, paints a pretty picture with her impressive costume, which includes a long black gown and a red feather boa. Her thick Western accent is delightful to listen to. Every good villain needs a good sidekick, though Rue’s sassiness and side comments make you wonder who is the real villain and who is the sidekick.

Other visual treats for the audience include the use of prompt cards throughout the production. The audience knows that Anderson is the villain as soon as he enters the stage, which is Cosner’s goal. Signs are held up to encourage the audience members to boo whenever Bloodstone reveals pieces of his evil plan.

Popcorn is also provided for the audience to pepper the villain throughout the performance. Cosner and Weaver work together to make the experience a fantastically immersive one for those watching the play.

Between the dinner, dessert and visual ques to bring the audience more into the play, all ages will appreciate the hard work of the CHER (Christian Home Educators of Ridgecrest) students. There will also be skits and musical treats — including a banjo number — by the CHER high school drama students to help set the stage for the evening.

For those wishing to attend this wonderful experience, tickets are $12 general admission for the dinner theater tonight at 6 p.m. and $10 for the dessert theater at noon tomorrow afternoon. Tickets are available at Red Rock Books.

Story First Published: 2019-02-08