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Paul VI High sells crazy in ‘Pink Panther’ production

Katherine Foust, a student at the Madeira School reviews Paul VI High School’s “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” as part of The Cappies Critics and Awards Program.

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Michelle Hollcraft, Tommy Hodge and Annemarie Loessberg from Paul VI High School. (Photo by Katy Carlson)

What do you get when you combine a doomsday machine, a fanatical lunatic and an investigator that stumbles and bumbles his way through every situation he’s in? A raving hit. Paul VI High School put on “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” and pulled it off wonderfully.

“The Pink Panther” originated on the silver screen in 1963, and since then has become world famous. There have been eleven Pink Panther films made since the original, including the recent remake of the earliest movie starring Steve Martin as Inspector Clouseau. In “The Pink Panther Strikes Again,” crazy former Chief Inspector Dreyfus believes that Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau ruined his life. Becoming increasingly insane as the plot continues on, Dreyfus threatens to destroy the world with his doomsday machine as long as Clouseau is still alive. Clouseau must find out in his own clumsy way how to stop Dreyfus and save the world without being killed first.

Paul VI's production was carried by the strong leads and supporting actors and was bursting with energy. All of the actors seemed to play off that energy to make each of their characters big, clear and enthralling.

Tommy Hodge embodied his character Clouseau and gave an outstanding performance. His unique accent never wavered, and he played the Clouseau character spot-on—down to the way he moved, making Hodge hilarious and intriguing to watch. Jake Miller portrayed Dreyfus’s downward spiral into insanity brilliantly. Miller had amazing comedic timing and delivered his lines in a way that kept the audience captivated and laughing. Both Hodge and Miller played off each other’s characters exceptionally well creating hilarity throughout the production.

Meghan Shea also did a great job as Olga. Her Russian accent was first-rate, and her indecision between love and duty added to the show’s insanity. Juan Miguel Fernandez (Cato) and Paolo Umayam (Jarvis) also performed their parts skillfully. Between fighting and cross-dressing, they always kept the audience entertained whenever they were on stage.

The stage crew was decked out in charming homemade Pink Panther costumes, and made the scene changes fun to watch, as they frolicked around the stage and through the audience. The band, Bandther Browne and the Swinging Pants, consisting of drums, a bass, a saxophone and a violin, was centered mid-stage. They played the famous Pink Panther theme with precision and even interacted with the actors at some points, contributing significantly to the production. The actors were never left in the dark, and the sound cues were all hit with impressive accuracy. Though the microphones did have some trouble functioning correctly, the actors covered by just projecting their voices, and sometimes used improvisation to cover up the scant technical faults.

With mesmerizing fight scenes, hunchback disguises and all-around hilarity, Paul VI High School made “The Pink Panther Strikes Again” memorable.

By Katherine Foust, Posted by Mario Iván Oña  |  December 16, 2009; 8:24 AM ET
 | Tags: Cappies 2009  
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