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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Catch ‘Closing It Up’ before it, uh, closes

Above: L-R, playwright/actress Molly Allen, Mary Starkey, Andrew Biviano

Last week I posted something about an art show, which I rarely do. Now, I'm going to post something about local theater, which I do even less often.

Not that I have anything against live theater. It's just that my motto is, so many movies, so little time.

But my wife and I made an exception on Friday night when we went to see a production — a "world premiere" — of "Closing It Up" at Stage Left Theater. Written by Molly Allen (who was also a principal cast member) and directed by Heather McHenry Kroetch, the play is a family comedy-drama about three siblings coming to grips with the recent death of their parents.

Yes, it is a comedy-drama. Turns out the two sisters and brother (played, by Allen, Mary Starkey and Andrew Biviano) have ambilvalent feelings about their parents. And as the play progresses (it takes place on the day of the parents' funeral and the morning after), those feelings grow darker. Yet still remain touching — and funny.

Special mention should go to Mark Pleasant, who has a show-stopping scene with Starkey (imagine dancing to the music of ABBA), and to Mary Jo Rudolph, whose single scene provides one of the production's funniest moments.

As Carolyn Lamberson wrote in The Spokesman-Review, Allen wrote "Closing It Up" in about three months, though it took some 18 months to get it ready for production. It’s Allen's third produced full-length play, and her first as Stage Left’s resident playwright.

If you haven't been to Stage Left, the space is intimate, meaning there aren't a lot of seats. Yet because they are raked, everyone has a decent view of the stage (our seats were in the next-to-last row and yet we could see just fine).

"Closing It Up" plays nightly at 7:30 through Sunday, with a special added 2 p.m. performance on Saturday. Click here to inquire about tickets and other general information.

And if you go, prepare to laugh.