With a run of over six months at Pacific Rep Theatre in Los Angeles, Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road is a hillbilly comedy with a heart of gold. Writer and actor Keith Stevenson, who originated the role of JD in Los Angeles, hails from Keyser, West Virginia, the hometown of the actual Fried Meat Ridge Road. Now, with Wildcard Theatre, he brings his brand of Americana to the White Bear Theatre, opening in the same week as the inauguration of a president widely believed to have been elected due to his manipulation of similar characters.
Things could not get any worse for Mitchell, who just lost his girlfriend, his apartment, and his job at the local Spork Factory. With nowhere to go, he answers an ad for a roommate and finds himself in a West Virginia countryside motel with JD, an affable hillbilly of mysterious origins. Soon JD’s neighbors – curmudgeonly Flip, meth-head Marlene, and her hot-headed boyfriend Tommy – have all but taken over the tiny room. When this zany group find themselves in a brief hostage situation, Mitchell must decide to save himself or join this dysfunctional family and let his freak-flag fly.
In 2012, Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road received an Ovation Award nomination for “Best Playwriting for an Original Play.” That same winter, Keith Stevenson wrote (and starred in) the holiday sequel, A Fried Meat Christmas. In 2014, he opened the third installment of the series, The Unfryable Meatness of Being.
Alongside Keith Stevenson, the production also stars Robert Moloney (The Revenant) and Dan Hildebrand (Kraznys mo Nakloz, Game of Thrones). Director Harry Burton has acted and directed in theatre, television, film and radio for thirty years. His theatre directing work includes the acclaimed production of The Dumb Waiter with Lee Evans and Jason Isaacs (Trafalgar Studios), The Room (Royal Court), Quartermaine’s Terms (Windsor). In 2013 Harry was awarded Penn State University’s Kjell Meling Award for Distinction in the Arts and Humanities. Designer Simon Scullion has worked extensively in West End Theatre, including Peter Pan Goes Wrong and Showstopper!.
The White Bear Theatre has now reopened after a major refit, with a new purpose-built theatre upstairs at the White Bear pub, now run by Young’s and offering a warm, convivial atmosphere.
OUT THERE ON FRIED MEAT RIDGE ROAD plays at the White Bear Theatre January 17 – February 4 2017
Photo: Erika Boxler