‘At This Evening’s Performance’ offers laugh-a-minute farce at North Coast Rep

Actor John Nutten admits he’s been very fortunate in his career, appearing in films, TV shows and onstage. He’s performed at the North Coast Repertory Theatre before (“Unnecessary Farce,” “The Odd Couple,” “Time Stands Still,” “Breaking Legs”), and said he’s happy to return for the comedic play-within-a-play, “At This Evening’s Performance,” written by Nagle Jackson and directed by Andrew Barnicle.

“When I read the script it made me laugh out loud, something I normally don’t do,” Nutten said. “I found myself having to stop reading at times just to giggle. When I get something that funny, my instinct says of course I want to be a part of this play.”

Not only is Nutten excited about the script, he’s crazy about his character Pankoff.

“He’s an essential part of the play. He comes into the middle of the action, looks around, and says let’s shake things up a bit,” Nutten said.

“The story takes place in a country in Eastern Europe called Strevia, which recently took over another country, Dunsk. Pankoff is now the Minister of Culture who has entered into a powerful situation and sees himself somewhat of a playwright. However, he doesn’t have a theater company and he lacks the skills for writing. He’s also a little bipolar, which is kind of fun in a comedy to play.”

Bruce Turk (Gunther Posnik) and Katie MacNichol (Hippolyta Posnik) are a real married couple who play the leads, a married couple. Nutten said they are phenomenal actors and their performance alone is worth the price of admission. Nutten’s favorite scene is when he’s trying to convince Gunther to be in his National Theatre Company.

“Gunther says he wants the same thing, but he thinks his life is in jeopardy due to he and his wife, Hippolyta’s, political activities,” Nutten said. “This is what I love about a farce! It has these little layers of things going on.

“The story takes place in the theater and there are a lot of theater references, so a theatre audience is going to really enjoy it, especially with Jackson’s clever writing, which shows how art really does imitate life.”

The cast includes Richard Baird, Paul Turbiak, Kyle Colerider-Krugh and Sierra Jolene.

IF YOU GO: “At This Evening’s Performance,” is on stage through Aug. 6 at the North Coast Repertory Theatre, 987 Lomas Santa Fe Drive, Solana Beach. Tickets from $43. (858) 481-1055. northcoastrep.org

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