L to R: Aurora Florence, Devlin and Meghan Andrews in "The Spitfire Grill." Photo by Aaron Rumley
Whether in mid-song or mid-sob, Aurora Florence is the life force behind North Coast Repertory Theatre’s production of The Spitfire Grill, a sincere, often-sad 2001 musical adaptation of a 1996 film. Florence, an original member of the alt-rock band Imagine Dragons, is Perchance (Percy) Talbott, recently out of prison and doing a different kind of time in a small Wisconsin town where secrets are kept, gossip flows freely and people drop their g’s when they’re talkin’. How Percy comes to transform them all is the crux of the show by James Valq and Fred Alley, which gets a heartfelt staging at the North Coast Rep under Jeffrey B. Moss’ direction. The women’s parts are the best written in this musical, and the female characters enjoy the best songs, too. Taking advantage besides Florence are Meghan Andrews, the single-named Devlin as the Spitfire’s spit-and-vinegar owner, and in a wee but howling part as the town gossip, Maggie Carney. (Review originally published in San Diego CityBeat on 6/14/17.)
David L. Coddon is a Southern California theater critic.