Blame The Butler

All Lisa Konove has to do is walk onstage and the audience reacts. Sure, she strikes quite a pose as a nose-in-the-air aristocrat in her slick white dress, froufed up with feathers and shimmering with bling, but there’s also a collective memory of her as the deliciously dour, evil stepmom in Cinderella, on the same stage last December. This time she’s in Diamond Head Theatre’s The Butler Did It as an aging actress (Natalie) who’s been given a bit role as a wealthy woman of the house in this play-within-a-play, but she covets the lead role a diva playing … well, a diva. And the audience has as much fun with it as she does.


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(front) Timothy Jeffryes with (back) Drew Tandal and Kim Anderson Photo courtesy DHT

It’s a farcical whodunit, where every character is by name or profession: Butler. A team of actors by terms flirt and bicker as they prepare and rehearse for a play in which Natalie’s Mrs. Butler gets killed off early on. None of them has been given the final scene, so they’re eager to know “who did it,” and the audience is kept guessing too right to the end, of course. Kim Anderson stands out as an airy-voiced, buxom Kewpie Doll ingenue who harbors a crush on the director (Timothy Jeffryes as Anthony J. Lefcourt). Allen Cole is the bumbling detective. As you watch (and laugh at) the antics of this big man as he trips and bumps around the stage, you get that nagging “where have I seen him?” feeling. Turns out that besides his many stage appearances, he’s also appeared on Hawaii Five-0 and Lost. Britton Adams as Mr. Butler, and Drew Tandal as a not-too-bright “New Yorkah” who has a Mrs. Robinson thing going with Natalie, round out the cast.

A hum of pleasure ripples through the room when those witty one-liners hit the bull’s-eye, especially during the more rousing second half. And you can’t help but feel a shot of holiday deja vu when you first see the set there’s some minor holiday décor, a Christmas wreath and mistletoe – but then there’s that warm golden glow emanating from the stage, which is set up like a living room. And as the guests settle in with a flutter of hellos and how’ve-you-beens, the lights dim and you feel like you’re amongst family and friends, and on vacation. You get to kick back and watch the murderous antics unfold.

the TICKET stub

When: Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; matinees are Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. through Feb. 19.
Where: Diamond Head Theatre
Cost: $12 to $42
More Info: 733-0274


The Wiz of Kapolei

If you’re a townie, by the time you fight the evening traffic to Kapolei High, you feel you’ve crossed into another galaxy. Go inside the cafeteria where Performing Arts Center of Kapolei is staging The Wizard of Oz and you’ll know you’ve entered another galaxy one that’s worth the drive.

It’s like comfort food watching this old classic where you can say the lines and sing the songs with the actors word-for-word, and you anticipate how they’re going to present this scene or that character. And before you know it, you’re going awww as enthusiastically as the parents. Those little Munchkins and a real doggie sitting in a basket that about tops the cute meter.

The sparkling finish on the production comes from the magic touch of Meagan Olson, PACK’s veteran costumer and director known for taking on innovative themes anime, for instance. She sat down with this show’s director Rachelle Amparo, who was aiming for “Tim Burton.” With more than 50 keiki (ages 4 to 18) and around 200 costumes (some have up to five changes), all-out Burton wasn’t going to work.

“My inspiration is from YouTube, from getting on Google and from (Diamond Head Theatre’s costume director) Karen Wolfe,” says Olson. Olson comes up with a pattern, gives it her own spin and gets the parents involved in cutting and sewing. A couple of months later and the costumes along with set, lights and sound by husband Steve

-make for some lustrous eye candy. “Our trees, wait till you see our (Wolfe-inspired) trees. They’re not wearing big trunks. They’re very pretty.” Adorable apple trees, equally adorable Munchkins in comfy blue plaid and patchwork, and a good fairy that’s any little girl’s sparkling, ringleted fantasy oh my!

The show plays Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Thursdays (family night) at 6 p.m. through Feb. 25. Cost is $6 for students, $10 general, $5 on Thursday. Call 224-5314.