The Transylvania Times -

BLT Stages Comedic View Of American History


August 26, 2019

Brevard Little Theatre's "The Complete History of America (Abridged)" provides a fast-paced, humorous review of American history and politics. (Courtesy photo)

"The Complete History of America (abridged)" doesn't follow the rules of a standard Broadway show. There is no set to speak of, no small pieces of furniture to dance around and no real beginning, middle or end of a specific story. What keeps this play together is history itself, the passage of time and three actors whose enthusiasm abounds on stage.

"CHOA," as BLT began to call it, was written by Adam Long, Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor of the renowned Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC). They're an American acting troupe that performs fast-paced, seemingly improvisational condensations of huge topics. The company's style has been described as "New Vaudeville," combining both physical and verbal humor, as well as highbrow and lowbrow, and "CHOA" is their crown jewel. It's a whip-smart comedy cavalcade that whisks the theatergoer from 1492 to the present.

That premise alone sounds daunting enough. Add to the mix that this historical narrative is presented by three performers who never leave the stage. Director Heather Denton has assembled a dream team with Andy Thompson, Jordan Wright and Paden James.

This trio burns full throttle alone on stage with props so plentiful that special shelving had to be built backstage at three separate entrances to house them all. Their comic timing combines with lightning speed transformations between characters and the results are engaging, unpredictable and always very funny.

Thompson is no stranger to the stages of the area, performing in Asheville, Hendersonville and Brevard theatres. He delivers his lines with gusto, moves around, and falls off the stage as if he owns it, and his facial expressions dramatically confirm each and every line.

Wright shines as he has in several BLT performances. Usually playing more serious roles, his comic timing is on target. He has a knack for accents and his Detective Spade is boisterous, comical and believable.

James is a newcomer to the area and to the BLT stage. His acting studies from the University of New Mexico have certainly paid off in this production. He is quick with his lines, never faltering and already a professional. He plays several female roles with humor and a great falsetto. The three work together as one, entertaining, funny and, in fact, informative as well.

In today's political climate Denton chose an historically epic wink at our history and ourselves. Turns out, "CHOA" is exactly the kind of good humored ribbing we all need right now.

Remaining shows are Friday, Aug. 30, and Saturday, Aug. 31, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 1, at 3 p.m. at the theatre located at 55 E. Jordan St. in downtown Brevard.

To purchase tickets online, visit or buy them in person at the theatre box office one hour prior to each performance. Reservations may be made by calling (828) 884-2587.

For more information, visit BLT is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


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