Review: Delightful naughtiness in Phoenix Theatre’s ‘Wonder of the World’

Wonder Of The World cast. (Photos by James Sipes)

The Phoenix Theater is starting 2020 with a bang. They are up to hilarious hijinks again with their latest production, Wonder of The World, by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Eric Lewis.

Wonder Of The World opens with our heroine, Cass, in the midst of frantic packing to leave her current life and husband behind. Her unsuspecting husband, Kip comes home just in time to see his world fall apart. Cass is clear she doesn’t want a scene and she definitely doesn’t want to talk it over. As far as Cass is concerned, she is done being a bored housewife. She’s ready to go explore the world and chase her dreams. Cass also believes that no one should be stuck in a marriage with a husband who has something so unspeakable — tucked away in his sweater drawer — that she can’t bring herself to say it. Cass sets off for Niagara Falls to fulfill the items on her bucket list. Along the way, she meets an eclectic cast of characters — each of them with their own agendas and not minding if they get in the way of her best-laid plans.

Reneé Gilbert takes on the role of Cass Harris, an impulsive and determined young woman looking to enjoy all life has to offer. Gilbert sucks you into Cass’s journey and leaves you with no choice but to hold on for the ride.

Renee Gilbert and Morgan Peeler in Wonder Of The World.

Cass knows that every great heroine needs a sidekick, and Melanie Calderwood delivers more than that in her role as Lois Coleman, a determined lush with a disastrous plan and the wickedly dark humor to match. Susan Connors and Curt Simmons play Karla and Glen, a troublesome duo who will do just about anything for a buck. Greg Kleciak is Cass’s desperate husband, Kip Harris. Morgan Peeler takes the stage as Captain Mike, a lonely widower. Last but certainly not least is Hilary Erlandson, who works her tail off in six different roles — each filled with unpredictable zest and comedic perfection.

The set design is simple and understated. Each scene is transformed with only a few props and occasional lighting and sound effects. The true magic happens within the actors’ performances. Their delivery brings each scene to life, making the simplicity of the set work extremely well for this production.

Renee Gilbert and Melanie Calderwood.

Wonder Of The World makes for a lively evening at the theater filled with delightful naughtiness in all the right ways. Without a doubt, you will have plenty to talk about on the car ride home and maybe even a few things to google. Wonder Of The World is a well-acted and well-written play that shouldn’t be missed.

Oh, and about that naughty secret Cass found in her husband’s sweater drawer… While I can’t give the secret away, I can say that calling it shocking doesn’t even begin to cover it.

What: Wonder Of The World written by David Lindsay-Abaire and directed by Eric Lewis.

When: Now – March 1, 2020/ Saturday and Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Where: The Phoenix Theatre, 9673 Firdale Ave., Edmonds

Tickets: $25 adults and $20 seniors/students/U.S. military members and veterans

To purchase: 206-533-2000 or

— By Judy Hendrix

Judy Hendrix is an Edmonds writer, avid reader, mom to a handful of boys and one incredibly stubborn Saint Bernard named Frog. She splits her time between her writing business Saint Frog & Company, volunteering at her son’s school and helping manage the nonprofit Seattle Homeless Outreach, which delivers emergency relief supplies to those in need. You can read more about her antics and offerings at  

4 Replies to “Review: Delightful naughtiness in Phoenix Theatre’s ‘Wonder of the World’”

  1. Great review! Love reading anything Judy Hendrix writes. She’s got a gift and I’m grateful she is sharing it to add spice to others’ lives.


    1. Thanks, Colleen. You should check it out if you get the chance. It was very literally laugh-out-loud funny. I think they are selling out quickly, so grab the tickets soon if you do decide to go.


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