Feral Productions goes adventuring with ‘The Explorers Club’ in Summerlin

Photo: Bryan Hainer
Jacob Coakley

Somewhere deep in Summerlin lies The Explorers Club, Victorian England’s greatest assemblage of adventurers, scholars and horticulturists, dedicated to expanding the range of human knowledge and proper British society—not to mention making you laugh till it hurts. Okay, it’s at the Faith Lutheran school in Summerlin, but I did trek there to find out more about the comedy.

“It’s a little Keystone Cops, a little Monty Python,” says Erik Ball, who plays Harry Percy and heads up the show-producing Feral Tale Theatricals. Percy is famous in his own mind for discovering the East Pole, and evokes the spirit of the adventurer scientists of the 1800s, who had as much fun riding tortoises and eating bugs as developing a theory of evolution. “It’s a very fun, clever evening of theater,” Ball says. “You’re going to get your knees dirty and get dirt under your fingernails, but you’re going to love it.”

Phyllida Spotte-Hume (played by Jacqueline Walker) loves it so much, she’s discovered (and subdued) a lost tribe with nothing more than a spoon, then made a dirigible and piloted it halfway around the world to join the club. (She even brought a member of the lost tribe with her to prove her bona fides.) It’s her bad luck she’s a woman and so simply can’t be admitted—though that doesn’t stop Lucius (Lysander Abadia) a botanist smitten with her, from trying. To cap it all off there’s mistaken identities, poisonous snakes and of course, romance. It was written by Nell Benjamin, who also wrote the book for Legally Blonde: The Musical, and though she takes the satirical edge about the dangers of underestimating women about 100 years into the past with this one, her wit remains sharp as ever.

“This comedy is best described as believable characters in unbelievable circumstances,” says Sean Critchfield, who directed the play. “Lucius and Phyllida are very believable characters but they’re surrounded by this trainwreck of people. And it’s just hysterical.”

If you want to discover this show, you’’ll have to hurry. It only plays from Thursday, July 30, through Saturday, August 1. “This is going to be one of those little gems of a show that people are going to want to talk about,” Ball predicts. “Here and gone,” echoes Hackler, before they both don their pith helmets and head back into rehearsal.

The Explorers Club July 30-August 1, 7 p.m.; August 1, 2 p.m.; $12. Faith Lutheran Chapel and Performing Arts Center, 2015 S. Hualapai Way, showtix4u.com.

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