FUNNY LITTLE THING CALLED LOVEBy Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope & Jamie Wooten
Richardson Theatre Centre
Directed by Jennifer Stephens Stubbs
Scenic Designer – Robert Clark
Lighting Design – Chris Berthelot
Sound Design – Jennifer Stubbs
Sound/Light Operator – Hal Heath
Costumes – Rachael Lindley and Cast
Props – Rachael Lindley, Jennifer Stubbs and Cast
Stage Manager – Hal Heath
Artistic Director – Rachael Lindley
Executive Director – Lise Alexander
Rick Powers/Jake – Russell Sims
Taylor Stroud – Kathy Walden
Erin Darcelle/Gwendolyn Norwich – Melissa Hartman Couture
A. J. Satterwhite – Joe Barr
Twyla/Mimi – Debbie Fu
Corinne – Nancy Cecco
Hollis – Kathleen Vaught
Elsie Satterwhite/Lottie – Sue Goodner
Sugar Lee Thompkins-Dillahunt – Jacque Marshall
Bobby Dwayne Dillahunt/Ferlin Wheeler – Fred Patterson
Nita Mooney – Robyn Mead
Carlene Travis/Rita – Debbie DeGroot Deverich
Mavis Flowers – Johnna Leigh
Porter Padgett/Willard – Chris Berthelot
Crystal Hart – Debby Yates
Alastair Standley – Eddy Herring
Brandy Poovey – Laura Sosnowski
Stan Jenkins – Audie Preston
Amber – Maxine Frauenheim
Meredith – Leslie Austin
Deena – Amber Marks
Reviewed Performance: 8/23/2018
Reviewed by Chris Hauge, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
And the play is comfort food. There is little that we haven’t seen before, but that doesn’t make it any less tasty and filling. We are led through five scenes taking place during a special full moon which can bewitch the hearts of lovers. As the moon crosses the sky, we follow the romantic chaos it causes in a television studio, a Texas Chiropractor’s office, a honeymoon suite in Honolulu, a rooftop café in London, and an apartment on New York City’s Upper West Side. Needless to say, it turns out well for all involved and true love triumphs.
The plots follow common sit-com setups, and that familiarity helps with the comedy. Director Jennifer Stephens Stubbs keeps the pace brisk, a necessity for maintaining comic timing. I also commend her for her casting. She has assembled a group of actors who seem very comfortable in their roles in the five scenes. We watch two newscasters (Russell Simms and Kathy Walden) get sidetracked by the influence of the magical moon. We are flies on the wall as the three “exclusive” girlfriends (Debbie Fu, Nancy Cecco, and Kathleen Vaught) converge on their unfaithful beau (Joe Barr) in a revenge plot arranged by the errant boyfriend’s mother (Sue Goodner). Then we are taken to Honolulu with honeymooners (Jacque Marshall and Fred Patterson) and watch as their plans for romance are unexpectedly highjacked by well-meaning friends. And we follow the moon to a rooftop café in London where a couple (Eddy Herring and Melissa Hartman Couture) try to connect amid the distraction of annoying Americans (Laura Sosnowski and Fred Patterson) and a waitress (Sue Goodner) who makes Tim Conway’s Grandpa character on the Carol Burnett Show look fast by comparison. And last, we go to New York City and watch as all Hell breaks loose on a Middle-aged man’s (Audie Preston) attempt to propose to his much younger girlfriend.
The proceedings are all watched by a wonderful full moon, which moves across the night sky and over the changing cityscapes in the lovely set designed by Robert Clark. Various set pieces complete the playing areas, but it is always the moon that grabs our attention, letting us know that it is the cause of all this pandemonium. The costumes by Rachael Lindley and the cast ably take us on our journey across the world and cover the gamut from to conservative dress to an explosion of Hawaiian and redneck kitsch. It all adds to the fun of the production.
This a very large cast and all are to be commended for the energy of their performances. I wish to single out Eddy Herring and Melissa Hartman Couture for their work in the “A Little Brit of Romance” scene. Their accents were strong and the connection between the two was very believable. The also were in the strongest written (my opinion-I’m open for debate) of the scenes and were supported, and almost engulfed, with solid work from Laura Sosnowski and Fred Patterson as annoying Americans and Sue Goodner as a wonderfully clueless and helpless waitress. Ms. Goodner gets to end this scene spectacularly and you will find yourself humming “Rock-a-bye Your Baby (With a Dixie Melody)” for the rest of the night.
Kathleen Vaught, Nancy Cecco and Debbie Fu are properly dangerous as the wronged women taking their boyfriend to task. Ms. Vaught made a vivid impression on me, but then there is something about a woman entering a room with a baseball bat that always commands my attention. Debbie DeGroot Deverich makes a wonderful New York EMT who, conquered by the moonlight confesses her love and doesn’t consider “no” to be an option. Chris Berthelot is hilarious as a terrified super hero on a window ledge and touches us as a heartbroken redneck in pursuit of the love of his life.
Thank you to the cast and crew for the time and heart you put into this production. And thank you for making all who attended the performance welcome at the table as you served up a big, hilarious helping of comfort food. Sometimes that exactly what a person needs.
Presented by Richardson Theatre Centre
518 W. Arapaho Road, Suite 113, Richardson, TX 75080
August 17 – September 2, 2018
Thursday performances, 7:30 pm, Friday and Saturday performances, 8 pm
Sunday matinees, 2 pm.
For tickets and information call 972-699-1130
or go to Richardsontheatrecentre.net