Review: ‘Popcorn Falls’ at B Street Theatre

Popcorn Falls: Wed 2pm & 6:30pm, Thu 8pm, Fri 8pm, Sat 5pm & 9pm, Sun 2pm, Tue 6:30pm; Through 2/23; $25-$37; B Street Theatre, 2700 Capitol Ave.; (916) 443-5300;
Rated 3.0

A small town in Michigan was playwright James Hindman’s inspiration for Popcorn Falls, the comedy currently at B Street Theater, directed by Lyndsay Burch. The town was on the verge of bankruptcy until a theater opened. A couple years later the town had two theaters, a hotel and a restaurant jammed with people.

Popcorn Falls is a fictitious town whose tourist attraction is its namesake falls. When a corrupt politician turns off the falls to turn it into a sewage treatment facility, Mayor Trundle (Greg Alexander) discovers that the town will receive a sizable sum of money if it can put on a play in a week. There’s only one problem—there is no theater, no play and no actors.

“No problem,” says Trundle, as he meets other members of the town to get a play produced.

Alexander and Dave Pierini, two of B Street’s most popular actors, play more than 20 characters in this very funny comedy, including Joe, a janitor; Becky, a bartender; Ms. Parker, the cat-loving town librarian; Floyd, the one-armed owner of the lumber yard; Mrs. Stepp, the chain-smoking middle school teacher and town vamp; a bored teenager and more.

Pierini plays most of the characters, changing headgear, minor costume details, body language and accents in an eye blink, while Alexander is mostly the mayor and one or two other characters.

It’s an amazing achievement, particularly for Pierini, and keeps the audience laughing throughout the 90-minute, one-act performance.