THE CROWD YOU'RE IN WITHby Rebecca Gilman
Director- Carol M. Rice
Assistant Director/Stage Mgr- Sonja Jones
Dramaturge- Lindsey Humphries
Choreographer- Matthew J Edwards
Set Designer- Abigail Kipp
Lighting Designer- Brooks Powers
Sound Designer- Jason Rice
Costume Designer- Paul McKenzie
Properties Designer -Robin Daffinee Coulonge
Light and Sound- Jessica Carroll
Dan- Jacques Buckingham
Jasper- Rick Dalton
Windsong- Rachel M Carothers
Melinda- Kim Winnubst
Tom- Kenneth Fulenwider
Karen- Kelly Moore Clarkson
Dwight- Michael Speck
Reviewed Performance: 3/31/2011
Reviewed by Shelley Kaehr, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
To beget or not to beget?that was the question posed in the comedy being shown at the Cox Building Playhouse, and it was a timely question to ask with the population declining and many people asking themselves whether or not they should bring new life into such a troubled world.
But hasn't it always been troubled? Our parents thought so, now we do too, for different reasons, but in the end, people never really change and that was the message writer Gilman gave us to ponder during the play.
Brilliantly directed by Rover Director Carol M. Rice, the story documented the trials and tribulations of three couples who lived in the same apartment complex? one couple was expecting their first child, another older atheist couple disliked children to the point they compared kids to barking dogs and noisy garage bands and the third couple was in the midst of desperately trying to get pregnant until the woman's other half made a life changing decision.
The entire cast was incredible! Each couple was well paired and completely believable. So much so, I felt like I was actually eavesdropping at a summer barbeque. The dialogue was easy and natural and the attention to detail was over the top.
The set, by Abigail Kipp, was outstanding. Real slate tiles formed the backyard patio that was complete with a real fence and an ice bucket filled with beer. The guacamole looked good too and there was much eating going on as part of the action. I hope the cast was hungry! It certainly made my stomach growl.
Of particular note was the stellar performance by Rick Dalton, who played the mid- life crisis Jasper coming to terms with the fact his life was not necessarily what he'd hoped for. His portrayal was stunning. During time alone onstage, his facial expressions and body language were telling without being overacted. We've all seen these expressions on people's faces before, perhaps felt those emotions ourselves and he brought it all up to the surface ? a great job!
Rachel M. Carothers' role as Windsong was a well played emotional rollercoaster. I loved the scene where her doting husband Dan, played by Jacques Buckingham, accused her hormones as the reason for her behavior. Her tears and anger were so well played and realistic, this would strike a chord in ladies out there because a lot of us have been accused of that at one time or another. Buckingham did a superb job and we really believed these two were a happily married couple.
Kim Winnubst offered a heartfelt performance as Melinda, whose life was about to be shattered and her dreams destroyed. There was that feeling you have in life that men and women don't really "get" each other. Winnubst did a super job of expressing those emotions ? she believed the best and only wanted to see what her rose-colored glasses could show her about her marriage. Nice job!
I believe the audience also resonated with the childless couple, Tom, as played by Kenneth Fulenwider and Karen, played by Kelly Moore Clarkson. Sure they were antisocial atheists, but the scene where they told Jasper how they met and fell in love was really touching. I loved seeing Jasper react to their love and his facial expressions said it all ? he wanted what they had.
Loner stoner Dwight, brilliantly played by Michael Speck, added a splash of color to the party. He brought the cheapest beer, the biggest laughs and, thanks again to great directing, sat alone most of the time, offset from the other couples. How many times do single people do that? Always!
Overall, this was one of my favorites. I saw bits of myself in many places during the play. Which parts, you ask? Ah?I'm not telling! You'll have to go see this one and I believe you might see yourself there too.
Cox Building Playhouse, 1517 H Avenue, Plano, TX 75074
Plays through April 9th
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00p.m.
April 2nd Saturday Matinee at 2:00p.m.
Tixs are $16 for Thursdays, Saturday matinee, $20 for Friday
& Saturday evenings with $2 discount for students/seniors. For
tix & info go to www.roverdramawerks.com or call 972-849-0358