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No Time For Sergeants

a Comedy
by Mac Hyman

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center
ID# 3706

SHOWING : May 07, 2010 - May 23, 2010



Lionheart Theatre Presents "No Time for Sergeants"
by Mac Hyman
Directed by Joseph McLaughlin

"No Time for Sergeants" was a 1954 best-selling novel by Mac Hyman, which was later adapted into a popular Broadway play and 1958 motion picture, as well as a 1964 television series. The book chronicles the misadventures of a country bumpkin named Will Stockdale, who is drafted into the U.S. Air Force in the mid 50’s.

Performance Dates:
May 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23
Friday and Saturday performances at 7:30
Sunday matinées at 2:00

Make reservations at (credit card or PayPal).

Director Joseph McLaughlin
Colonel, Lt. Bridges Scott Brocato
Captain, Lt. Guardella Chris Brooks
Psychiatrist Sean Casey
Draft Man, Senator James Connor
Ben Whitledge Justin Councill
Rosabelle Jessica Fowler
General Bush Oscar Gutierrez
Irvin Adam Mayo
Will Stockdale Ryan McLaughlin
Sgt. King Steve Pryor
General Pollard Frank Scozzari
Manual Dexterity Testing Corporal, Navig Allen Stone
Pa Stockdale Tony Webb
Kendall Joe Weissinger
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Make Time for "Sergeants"
by playgoer
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Mack Hyman's "No Time for Sergeants" tells the fictional story of Will Stockdale, drafted from the backwoods of Georgia and making his innocent way through the air force. There's enough of a plot to keep the story moving along, but extra joy in performance comes from the well-delineated, quirky characters that Will comes across.

The "three musketeers" of the cast are Will; the meek, excitable Ben Whitledge, whom he meets on the bus from the draft center and who longs to join the army infantry, like his brothers; and irascible Sergeant/Private/Sergeant King, who greases Will's way through testing, with often unintended results. These central three are surrounded by other inductees, career officers, and assorted military brass. Together, they take a madcap romp through Will's military experiences.

The main character of Will is played by Ryan McLaughlin. He played the same role several years ago in Lionheart's first production of the show, but doesn't seem to have aged at all. He looks right for the role, with a slack-jawed innocence radiating from his open face, yet with the height and heft to be believable as the victor in a brawl. He may look the part, but he's sheer perfection when he opens his mouth and speaks. His pauses and intonations milk the most from the role, gaining laughs in all the expected places and in several unexpected places too. He has an easy rapport with the audience during his narration, yet never breaks character. It's a terrific job, top to bottom.

Steve Pryor, as the sergeant, acquits himself well, as does Justin Councill in the role of Ben. Mr. Pryor's New York-tinged accent is more effective than Mr. Councill's southern drawl, but both actors add an enjoyable physicality to their roles. Their energy contrasts with the lower-key equanimity of Will and helps to keep the show moving along.

The supporting cast largely play dual or triple roles. One standout, from my perspective, was James Connor as a ticked-off draft man who has traveled to Georgia to collect supposed draft dodger Will. He burst onto the scene early in the show, erasing the memory of any first-night jitters that seemed to be affecting other cast members. (But was his costume the same zoot suit he wore recently in "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on Verona Street?" Why did he direct so many of his lines upstage?)

Other standouts were Sean Casey, as a Paul Lynde-like psychiatrist; John Connel, as a drunken infantryman; and Frank Scozzari, as a Phil Silvers-like general. They all added touches of comedy that kept the laughs coming. Oscar Gutierrez also did some nice work in sending up his stentorian voice as a bombastic general. With the assurance of having a couple of performances under their belts, other actors are likely to gain a natural fluidity in their lines and rise to the level of the standouts.

The women in the cast weren't given much to do, but three of them had a terrific pose as Charlie's Angels in the second act. That was one of the directorial touches added by Joe McLaughlin that helped ensure that audience interest was maintained throughout the show.

The set appears to be a bleak, black box upon first viewing, quite a change from the artful darkness of "William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet on Verona Street," the previous Lionheart production. That first impression fades as panels unfold for scene changes and set dressings are brought on and taken off. While not visually stunning, the set suits the many locales of the show.

I was concerned by the first couple of scene changes, which seemed to be slowed down in order to allow music to play between scenes. In the second act, that concern turned to delight, as "The Hello Song," Johnny Cash, and Elvis numbers commented on the preceding action, terminating just at the right point to allow entry back into the action. Not all light and sound cues were perfectly in place on opening night, but they are likely to fall into place soon.

Mack Hymen's "No Time for Sergeants" started the comedic partnership of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts. While Lionheart Theatre's production may not have that star power, it delivers on the promise of comedy admirably. It's a fun show, done in a way that highlights the funny lines and moments, carrying the audience along to a satisfying conclusion. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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