A Review of “The Spitfire Grill”

TheaterCNU’s latest musical production


TheaterCNU’s “The Spitfire Grill,” transports audience members back in time to 1991 in the small town of Gilead, WI. In Gilead, everybody knows everybody and there’s only one place to grab a bite – Mrs. Ferguson’s Spitfire Grill. New girl, Percy Talbott, played by Alexandra Lagos, rolls into town and has everyone in Gilead wondering, who is this strange girl with her country accent and criminal record? 


Percy secures a job as a waitress at The Spitfire Grill where she lives with the stubborn but sharp-witted restaurant owner Mrs. Ferguson, played by Katie O’Shields. When Mrs. Ferguson has a sudden accident that leaves her unable to run the restaurant, Percy steps up to manage things with the help of the timid but sweet Shelby Thorpe, played by Adalynn Eller. Percy meets other residents of Gilead’s close-knit community, like Shelby’s bad-tempered husband Caleb, the town gossiper Effy, and sheriff Joe who takes a particular interest in Percy. The audience, just like Percy, is sure to fall in love with this charmingly quaint town and the quiet life it offers.


Lagos perfectly embodies the spirit of Percy’s character through her beautifully captivating voice with its slight country twang. She delights the audience with upbeat and humorous numbers like “Out of the Frying Pan” and inspires them with emotionally powerful songs like “Shine.” Lagos’ moving performance makes it very easy for the audience to immerse themselves in Percy’s journey as she attempts to abandon her painful past and find peace in a world that hasn’t always shown her kindness. 


In scenes with Percy and Shelby working together at The Spitfire Grill, Lagos and Eller’s chemistry breathes life into these moments and captures all the warmth and joy of their characters’ friendship. Additionally, O’Shields comical portrayal of Mrs. Ferguson, brings a certain lightness and humor to the story, and she might remind you a little of your own tough, but loving grandmother. This trio of women shines bright on stage and will certainly make you smile with their caring relationship. They may be different ages and come from different places, but they’re united by their love for each other and for the town of Gilead.


Effy Krayneck, played by Melaina Fergeson, amuses the audience throughout the entire show with her meddling ways and her quirky personality. The male characters also play integral roles in the story. James Pettus, played by Caleb Thorpe, is the judgemental and emotionally closed-off husband to Shelby. Pettus did an excellent job of displaying this complexity and making the audience wary of him. In comparison, Sheriff Joe Sutter, played by John Byrd, is a breath of fresh air and audiences will melt over how sweet and patient he is towards the people around him, especially Percy. Liam Riley who portrays the mysterious Visitor does an amazing job of expressing his emotions and motives without saying a single word.


This TheaterCNU performance will pull at the heart strings and leave audience members yearning for a hot cup of coffee from the only restaurant in town. With a relatively small but incredibly talented cast, compelling characters, and poignant musical numbers, You won’t want to miss what’s cooking at “The Spitfire Grill.”


“The Spitfire Grill” will perform on Oct. 5, 6, and 7 at 7:30pm in CNU’s Peebles Theatre.

Tickets are free for CNU students. For more info visit: https://cnu.edu/academics/departments/theater/performances/