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'Escanaba' is comedic kick at Sutter Street Theatre in Folsom

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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Pull up a seat, kick back, grab a mason jar of sweet sap whiskey and listen to the Soady family’s far-fetched tale of UFOs, Indians and bagging the perfect buck. Set entirely in the Soady’s secluded cabin in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the play sets its sights on a father, his two sons and a speech-impaired family friend (as well as a discombobulated forest ranger) on their annual deer hunting trip. Penned by movie actor Jeff Daniels, “Escanaba in da Moonlight” is a raucous comedy that pokes fun at itself and hunting culture in the Sutter Street Theatre production. The first day of deer season is like “Christmas with guns,” one of the characters proclaims in the beginning of the show. Rueben Soady (Troy Thomas) is 35 and if he doesn’t bag a buck this season, he’ll go down in the Soady family history book as the oldest Soady without a buck to his name. His brother Remnar (Matt Udall) is sure there is a curse on Rueben. Rueben’s wife, an Indian named Wolf Moon Dance (Ashlie Chimero), sends some special concoctions to help her hubby maintain the Soady family name. Family friend Jimmer Negamanee (Jerold McFatter) is the show’s main comic relief. Ranger Tom T. Treado (Steve Read) and family patriarch Albert Soady (Mike Jimena) round out the cast of characters. Standouts include Thomas, who really shines as Rueben, and Udall, who has real chemistry as the quirky brother. This is the second time Thomas has graced the Sutter Street Theatre stage while it’s Udall’s fourth. McFatter makes his Sutter Street debut with this show. If you happened to catch this play in its previous incarnation at Sutter Street Street, you won’t be disappointed seeing it again. The set is completely different and the story takes on a new tone under Connie Mockenhaupt’s direction. In all, I highly recommend “Escanaba in da Moonlight.” * * * KNOW AND GO “Escanaba in da Moonlight” When: 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays, 4 p.m. Sunday, through March 11 Tickets: $23 general, $21 seniors, $18 students with ID, $15 children 12 and under Where: Sutter Street Theatre, 717 Sutter St., Folsom Info: Sutterstreettheatre.com, (916) 353-1001 Rating: 4 out of 5 stars