An old Marilyn Monroe film plays on the back stage wall as the audience anticipates what’s next.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy, “Wonder of the World,” is set in the 1990s in New York state. As lights go up, Cass (Haley Johnson) is in the bedroom, packing her suitcase, planning to run away, carrying the audience on a harebrained journey with her.
Her husband Kip (Matthew Blood-Smyth) appears with a plate of salmon aspic for lunch and she tells him she’s leaving him to start a new life — really offended by something in his dresser drawer.
Next scene (there are 13 total scenes, but the funny crew makes changes seem part of the act): Cass is on a bus headed for Niagara Falls, seated next to a suicidal alcoholic named Lois (Lindsey Pierce), who is more than glad to help herself to the salmon aspic Cass is carrying with her.
Staging is very clever in this production — we find Cass and Lois on the Hurricane Deck at Niagara Falls, with sound effects and projected falls, and later on the Maid of the Mist boat, where Captain Mike (Christian Mast) makes pompous historic announcements as he mans the wheel.
Kip send an inept detective couple in search of Cass and their story weaves into the mix, as does the captain’s tale of his wife’s tragic death via a four-pound jar of peanut butter.
Two favorite scenes involve talented, comical Erica Johnson, as a helicopter pilot over the falls and as various waitresses in a scene labeled “Various Restaurants.” She also appears as a marriage counselor — wonderful timing and sense of humor, thanks to a quirky, talented American playwright. (His “Fuddy Mears,” “Kimberly Akimbo” and “Rabbit Hole” have appeared in Denver in the past six years.)
Eventually, miscellaneous parts and pieces come together in this comic chronicle and the audience leaves with a smile. This is the first production under Miners Alley’s new management and the choice bodes well for the future.
“Wonder of the World” plays through Sept. 1 at Miners Alley Playhouse, 13th and Washington, Golden. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. Sundays; 2 p.m. Sept. 1. All tickets cost $19 during this production run. 303-935-3044.