Tucked in between Zion’s National Park and the city of Saint George is the lovely town of Hurricane, home to one of Utah’s newest and best musical-comedy shows. The Rattlin’ D Playhouse, which earned a name for itself in Idaho before moving down a state. Now run by employees, counselors, and students of the Diamond Ranch Academy, the theatre company is picking up steam as a must-see for locals and visitors to Southern Utah. What’s more, the proceeds for their shows go back to the school and its youth.

rattlin1

Forty-five minutes before the show, dinner is served for those who wish to dine. My wife and I feasted on the three-course meal. After our salads, I savored a surprisingly large and tender prime rib while she enjoyed an almond chicken breast, both with baked potatoes and dinner rolls. We refreshed ourselves with lemonade and ice water before topping it all off with a delicious cheesecake.

Dinner itself was worth the price of admission, but the performers (who serve dinner to the audience beforehand) did not disappoint either. After several short sketches (some funnier than others, but none of them duds) the cast settled into a rousing parody of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, generously peppered with brilliant one-liners, toe-tapping songs, and dance numbers that deftly balance hysterics with occasional choreographed brilliance.

rattlin2

This company excels in eliciting audience participation; musical cues indicate when audiences should boo and cheer various cast members, who frequently bring the show to a humorous halt by ad-libbing on-stage while in-character. Even occasional jokes that fell flat are handled with finesse. For example, after one groaner a pirate quipped “Tickets are non-refundable folks.” Later, after another would-be zinger failed to connect: “That joke will be gone tomorrow…you’re more of a focus group anyways.” The audience roared with laughter throughout. My wife and I had a marvelous time. My sides ached from chuckling.

The current show, Pirates of the Car-Rib-Eee-An, is offered Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays during the month of July. The prices are shockingly good: $25 for dinner and a show ($23 for seniors and $20 for kids 3-12) and $16 for just the show ($13 for seniors and children). I’d highly recommend having dinner there. To purchase tickets, find out show-times and location, and to learn more, please visit: www.rattlindplayhouse.com/

Jonathan Decker is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in couples’ therapy and singles’ guidance. He writes Hollywood film reviews from a LDS perspective at www.mormonmovieguy.com. Jonathan’s book, 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, is now available for pre-order and will be released on September 10, 2013.

PHOTOcover