Being a jaded 20-something Seattleite, I couldnt get over my innate suspicion of the simple, honest joy and love that this fictional musical family professed for each other and Jesus. I kept waiting for the proverbial manure to hit the fan and reveal the sordid depths of their dysfunction. Oh, they teased, they hintedwith mysterious bumps backstage from an invisible set of 3-year-old terrors, a slick-haired, high-waisted singing Baptist preacher (Kevin Brady) with frustrated Broadway ambitions who would cry at the drop of a fan behind his cross-shaped pulpit, an unmusical sister (Jenny Cross) signing songs through her familys virtuoso bluegrass/gospel performancesbut no cigar. The Sanders family (modeled on the Carter Family) maintained their wholesomeness throughout a series of religious country songs and heartwarming character sketches. I tip my hat to the legitimate-sounding Southern accents (which Ive heard heartlessly butchered on Seattle stages for years) and the flawless, rafter-shaking live musical performance offered by this talented group of actors (who each played at least one instrument, sang their hearts out, and still managed to project emotions at one another onstage). Heavy on entertainment and light on drama, this play was a pleasant breather from the typical psychological carnage of contemporary theatre. JENNA NAND (An improv show follows each Friday performance at 10:15, $8-$10.) Extended through Aug. 22.
Wednesdays, Thursdays, 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, 8 & 10:15 p.m.; Saturdays, 2 & 8 p.m. Starts: July 8. Continues through Aug. 22, 2009