MAN WITH THE POINTED TOESby Lynn and Helen Root
Plaza Theatre Company
Directed by Stefanie Glenn
Stage Management - Heather Aikman
Costume Design - Auston McIntosh (Intern), Tina Barrus
Costume Assistant/Dresser - Ashlie Christenson (Intern)
Light Design - Cameron Barrus
Sound Design - G. Aaron Siler
Set Design - JaceSon Barrus
Set Dressing - Milette Siler
Properties - Milette Siler
Props - Heather Aikman
Tom Coterel - David Cook
Pamela Wright - Milette Siler
Randall Wright - Jay Cornils
Jose - Andrew Guzman
Hank Stover - Luke Hunt
Lem Reed - Kyle Adams
Link Hanson - Kevin Poole
Florence Raines - Tina Barrus
Reviewed Performance: 1/6/2011
Reviewed by Carol Anne Gordon, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.
Ah, the country life. Eating your beans with a knife, slurping your soup, drinking your coffee "saucered and blowed". I had relatives that did all of the above and while I loved them dearly, I especially loved having them at the holiday table with my "citified" friends, so I could watch the reactions to these quaint dining habits.
Man with the Pointed Toes, Plaza Theatre Company's fortieth production, deals with grooming country boys into proper gentlemen so that they won't get those wide-eyed looks of amazement from civilized people.
It's sort of a reverse My Fair Lady except you like all the characters
in this show (c'mon now, tell the truth, sometimes `enry `iggins gets on your nerves a bit during that long dialogue at his mother's `ouse, doesn't he?).
This play is sweet and funny and moves along at a brisk pace with good comic timing. It reminds me of one of those old movies on TCM you stumble upon while channel surfing and then get hooked on because of the charming comedy and story line. David Cook, as the suddenly wealthy cowboy who discovers oil on his land, delivers the type of loveable "aw, shucks, ma'am" performance that you often find Jimmy Stewart or Gary Cooper doing on TCM.
He is backed by a small but obviously mutually affectionate cast that has great chemistry and good instincts. It says a lot for a company when, already by opening night, they know how to hold for laughs that come in places they weren't really expecting them. Kudos to director Stefanie Glenn for styling such a close knit group of actors that works so well together. Unlike most of Plaza Theatre Company's shows, this one is not double cast, so I can guarantee that you'll get the same harmonious performance that I saw when you attend.
When you look at the lists of the cast and crew, and see that a lot of the people there have just a few surnames, and that some of the cast also doubles as crew, you might wonder if Plaza is an amateurish bunch. But no, unlike the Mickey Rooney/Judy Garland movies that you also frequently find on TCM ("hey, kids, let's put on a show! We can use my dad's barn and my mom can sew the costumes out of flour bags!"), Plaza casts are professionally mic'd (are you listening, Dallas theatres-in-the-round?), and expertly costumed in vintage clothes from the proper era. (Just one note for Sound Designer G. Aaron Siler: turn up Ms. Siler's volume just a hair. Her s*xy, deeply purred comments are sometimes a little hard to catch when there's music playing on stage.)
Set Designer JaceSon Barrus whisks us away to the Snake Eyes Ranch in 1960's Texas with his shabby chic wooden Western furniture, which is ably complemented by Milette Siler's set dressing. The language, unchanged from when this play was written almost fifty years ago, reminds us that it's possible to get good solid belly laughs without going blue. I got a special kick out of the use of the words "high" and "g*y", whose meanings sure have changed a lot in the last half century. And you'll never be able to say the words "social hygiene" with a straight face again.
As the Four Stooges in residence, Luke Hunt, Kyle Adams, and especially Kevin Poole and Andrew Guzman, all give slyly comic performances, while good girl Florence Raines and bad girl Milette Siler personify the light and dark sides of femininity. As the long-suffering sire of the bad girl, Jay Cornils finally gets a well deserved laugh with his last line in the play.
Aw, shucks, I reckon it's worth the drive to Cleburne to see a sweet funny show that you can take the kids and granny to without worryin' about the content. It ain't Shakespeare, but it sure duz make ya smile!
Plaza Theatre Company
January 6th - 29th
Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 pm
Saturday matinees at 3:00 pm