By Alayna Een, Front Row Reviewers
Cobb&Co is giving you something new to be thankful for this November with the debut of its family-friendly comedy Gobble Gobble. This Thanksgiving-themed show by John Cobb is stuffed with delicious antics, sweet family relationships, and tasteful twists.
The story revolves around Abigail, a single mother of two who is estranged from her felonious family. But with Mama, the family’s semi-lucid matriarch, determined to have all her kids together for the annual Evans family Thanksgiving, Abigail gets sucked in to one last dinner—with everyone’s inheritance on the line. Things are heating up at home, but there’s one wild card (or turkey) that no one could have predicted: the arrival of a singing telegram named Merry Jerry. Dressed as a turkey, Jerry is quickly embroiled in the family drama, but will his budding romance with Abigail be enough to help this family turn a new leaf?
Gabi Pack is Abigail, the strong but stressed single mother of teenage poet Charlotte (Ariah Gashler) and hopeful young Walker (Aria Hortman). Gabi Pack is both steadfast in her ideas of how to raise her daughters and what she knows is right and soft-hearted in her interactions with them and Merry Jerry. Gashler walks the line between child- and adulthood very well. Hortman is an absolute delight, bringing childhood sweetness and energy while subtly stealing the show. Brandon Pack is the bighearted and bird-bearing Merry Jerry, and his interactions with Abigail’s daughters are charming. The natural romantic chemistry between the Packs makes the love-at-first sight more believable.
The Evans family members are all kooky, compulsive criminals. Sweet and spunky Jolene (Alexa Quigley) is the fun aunt every kid wants to have; Quigley’s contagious positivity and dedication to the family are deeply endearing. Jolene keeps the family together by sending family emails and caring for Mama (Lisa King). This year, the gun-toting and larger-than-life matriarch is set on having the family’s traditional activities, which include Thanksgiving dinner and—unfortunately for Jerry—a turkey shoot. King is likely to remind you of a relative or two in her loud and determined ways, but you can’t help but care for her in the end.
Caroline (Jenny Mattice) is the silent and edgy sister, and Mattice makes her character’s few words count by lacing them with intrigue. Her cronies Clyde (Steve Whitehead) and Josephine (Lark Sippert) up her intimidation factor by responding to the slightest gestures and seeming to read her mind—though not always for the better. Rodney (Darin Erickson) is rough around the edges and Tucker (Mathew Davis) has the heart of an electric guitar-bearing bard. They keep up a friendly competition of one-upping thievery while hiding their ill-gotten goods from Abigail and their parole officer (Patterson). These two brothers and the scheming Josephine give a classic comic trope a cold turkey twist that is one of the funniest bits of the show.
The Javert-like Patterson is played by Angelus alum Jade Higley, who deserves major props for rolling off his tricky alliterative lines with ease and great comic timing. The actors deliver great individual performances and get along well as a group, due to Stephanie Featherstone’s direction. The homey, holiday feel of the show is thanks in part to the efforts of Garion Jorgensen (set design) and Eden Black (scene painter) with the help of Erin Cobb’s costume design.
The plot mainly serves as a dressing for the main dish: the gobble-gobble gags. But the story is still likely to make you feel grateful for the comparative simplicity of your own festive family gatherings as you root for the Evanses. This show is sure to take its place in the niche of family Thanksgiving entertainment. So save your seat today for the filling treat of Cobb&Co’s Gobble Gobble at the Angelus Theatre in Spanish Fork, Utah.
Cobb&Co. presents Gobble Gobble by John Cobb
Angelus Theatre, 165 N. Main Street, Spanish Fork, UT 84660
November 17–20, 2023, 7:30 PM
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