Bullshot Crummond
Reviewed by David Kashimba
Photo by Jon McNally

While Center Repertory Company’s production of Bullshot Crummond seems like a comic blend of Monty Python, Maxwell Smart and Rocky and Bullwinkle, Ron House disavows all knowledge of any of the above when he and a group of actors put the play together. House, who directs this Walnut Creek production, said that a few decades ago the fictional British hero Bulldog Drummond intrigued him, Diz White, Alan Shearman, John Neville-Andrews and Derek Cunningham.

“Bulldog was born out of people who served in WWI,” said House who also had an uncle who served in the British Army in WWI. “We were all actors who got up and improvised stuff. We were parodying a genre. Eventually someone wrote something down. There is no real direction written into it. The play has a lot of latitude for actors and directors. We were not writers. We were actors.”

Indeed, therein lies the lifeblood of this slapstick comedy. No matter how many productions you see of Bullshot Crummond it is always a little different, taking on the individual style of a new director and the wild imagination of a new company of actors and designers.

Glen Micheletti and Melanie Slivka play the dastardly duo of Otto and Lenya Von Brunno. German spies infiltrated into England, the Von Brunno’s mission is to overturn truth, justice and the British way.

Fortunately England has a secret weapon, Bullshot Crummond (Shakespearean actor Scott Coopwood), super sleuth and master spy who dresses a little like Sherlock Holmes (and occasionally cross-dresses) but acts more like a combination of Maxwell Smart and Dudley Do-Right of the Royal Canadian Mounties. He’s handsome, he’s brave, women worship the ground he walks on and somehow he always manages to bungle his way into saving the day for England.

While this entire cast does a great job of keeping the audience laughing, Ken Sankin plays seven characters and is outstanding in every role. When asked to comment on the best way to enjoy this play, he said: “In theatre today, people are so focused on plays that are ‘topical and edgy.’ This is good, but we need to balance that with pure comedies.”

Comedy doesn’t get any purer than Bullshot Crummond. For tickets or more information call (925) 943-7469 or visit www.dlrca.org.

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