Three and a half hours away from Salt Lake, up and running only a few months of the year, this theater, run by Andrea Davis and her family, pulls in sell-out, sun-burned, crowds year after year — mostly because of a lanky, overly-confident, mustachioed character who goes by the name of Juanito Bandito.
He's the heart of these shows.
And although the shows that run alongside the Bandito productions are wonderful on their own, (Hairspray with Kenzie Davis as Tracy and Kurt Haaker as Edna is non-stop funny), it's the Bandito who drives the train.
He's plucky, proud to be the fastest gun and rapper in the West and not a bit ashamed of being a heartless bank robber though he's not nearly as tough as he talks.
|The Bandito (left) with his sidekicks.|
"Have you ever had one of those days?" he asks the audience.
He isn't cowed or even sorry for anything he's done. But he is still trying to talk his way out of trouble.
He's hysterically funny as a blind bandito even with moldy-oldy, blind man jokes: "I'm part-time blind, 20 hours a week!"
"You know! You speak Dumb!" He tells Freddie (Kenzie Davis), thinking she can help understand a finer point and "There's no crying in Cowboyland!" to Troy Boone who is Gator in "Ready, Fire, Aim."
The rewinds and slow-motion action are crazy fun and must have taken hours of rehearsal. (Watch for how the Bandito defuses the other guy's gun.)
The references to things like the upcoming presidential election, Russian athlete doping at the Rio Olympics with Bolt T-shirts and the Bolt stance make the show timely as well as comic.
The spooky, white rabbit on stage from a post production is now a Pokeman Go! creature.
It's all funny and it's all so well done.
The humor is fresh and handled so well that whole families enjoy it (even the little girl invited to try and stare down the show's pianist).
There really is nothing quite like it anywhere.
And it won't last forever. I'm quite sure at some point, someone will come along and take away the Bandito to a national forum.
In the meantime, we make it a point to attend every show that we can at Pickleville.
It's part of our Bear Lake tradition.
One year, I'll even wear a mustache!
(It's been extended through Sept. 10. See a promo video at: http://www.picklevilleplayhouse.com/2016-shows.html)