Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World at NW Actors Studio
A slight but poignant one-act comedy drama, Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World by Peter Parnell is the latest appealing offering from Straight Edge Theatrics, playing at NW Actors Studio. Briskly directed with a wry and unsentimental air by Marcus Wolland, Parnell's two hander is more of an actors' vehicle than a piece of great theatre writing. Still, Wolland's sure hand and two appealing young actors keep it an engaging effort.
Timothy Glynn plays Dennis, who reviews the situation of his battered friendship with the now deceased title character, played by Jacob Chase, on the eve of the latter's funeral. School days, rotten parents, girlfriends, the unraveling of their once close relationship, and just how Scooter died (Did he fall or jump from a mountain he was climbing?) are all on Dennis's mind, as his guilty conscience summons up Scooter's image for a walk through their yesterdays.
Despite a few awkward moments, Chase has a charm and coltish energy that serve the enigmatic Scooter well. Glynn has the more difficult task of not only playing the self-absorbed Dennis, but also of enacting key characters from the boys' past. Most of these cameos (excepting a well-wrought turn as Scooter's lout of a Father) are a bit stilted, and Glynn, a frequent musical theatre performer in Seattle, tends to work too hard, as if he is trying to sock a song across the footlights. Happily, in the play's most telling and climactic moments, Glynn and Chase convey a solid sense of what made Scooter and Dennis friends, what ultimately doomed the relationship, and the need for Dennis to let go of his guilt for drifting away from Scooter and perhaps contributing to his demise. Glynn shows real promise in the play's final moments, and should think about pursuing more straight play work.
Tech elements of the production are minimal, and the spotty lighting equipment at NWAS does the piece no favors. But bravo to Straight Edge for giving a rarely done play a local production, and for spotlighting some promising younger Seattle actors in the process.
Scooter Thomas Makes It to the Top of the World runs at NW Actors Studio, 1100 E. Pike Street on Capitol Hill, Friday and Saturdays at 8PM through February 8. Tickets $8/$10, with a $15 double feature deal with the play Never Swim Alone which runs in the 10PM slot. For reservations call (206) 632-9800.