Nico Stoerner, Staff Writer
Imagine a theatrical show that blended the Waffle House with tall tales reminiscent of something out of “Big Fish,” and staged in your local black box theatre.
The resulting show would look like “The Waffle Palace” at the Horizon Theatre, which straddles Little Five Points and Inman Park.
This collaboration between longtime Atlanta playwrights Larry Larson and Eddie Levi Lee is loosely based on stories they heard about incidents that happened in metro-Atlanta area Waffle House locations, and is back by popular demand. These are some incredible stories of late night craziness, too – such as an employee being Tasered by a police officer, a mythical creature dropping dead, and a post-concert brawl complete with bikers and drunks.
A feel-good show, it details the struggle of the neighborhood diner to survive in our constantly developing city. This theme is ever more relevant in a culture where the divide between successful small business owners and corporate conglomerates continues to become increasingly dramatic. It also speaks to the role of the local diner as a meeting place, where employees and patrons are more like family, and everyone knows your name.
Taking place over the course of a few nights (and always during the graveyard shift), “The Waffle Palace” uses larger-than-life embellishments and great cutaway skits to energize the performance. It also shares the individual stories of each of the actors, from the story of Walter the young would-be minister who wants to open his own church (Enoch King), to that of his mother the Waffle Palace veteran (Marguerite Hannah), the immigrant worker Esperanza who is simply happy to work (Maria Rodgriguez-Sager), to that of the business owner himself, John (Larry Larson). Guest appearances are made by various cast members including Hugo (Allan Edwards), Tooty (Mary Lynn Owen), and Ralphie (Eric Mendenhall), all of whom manage to play multiple roles impeccably.
Directed by Jeff and Lisa Adler, this home-grown comedy offers an interesting combination of storylines, but manages to keep you engaged with everything from an audience sing-a-long to a scene with special effects reminiscent of something out of “Poltergeist.”
From the first moment you take your seat you will be impressed by the ability of the set designers to transport you to your local diner, with egg-yolk yellow and black tile, flat-top grill, and kitsch décor throughout.
A theatre company with talent to spare, the Horizon Theatre continues to raise the bar in theatrical performance and remains among our favorite here at Fenuxe Magazine. Be sure to check out this great play before it closes again.
“The Waffle Palace”
WHERE: The Horizon Theatre
WHEN: Now through March 17, 2013
HOW: Visit HorizonTheatre.com