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Laughing Stock

a Comedy
by Charles Morey

COMPANY : Lionheart Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : College Street Playhouse
ID# 4779

SHOWING : September 11, 2015 - September 27, 2015



Summer stock productions of "Dracula," "Charley’s Aunt" and "Hamlet" collide and hysterical chaos ensues!

Director Tanya G Caldwell
Ian Cole Banker
Craig James Connor
Richfield Hawksley Leo Finocchio
Karma Jessie Hughes
Tyler Taylor Larry Jr.
Vernon Scott King
Daisey Coates Marla Krohn
Sarah Holli Majors
Henry Joseph McLaughlin
Braun Keith Nimene
Jack Jeremy Reid
Suzanna Abra Thurmond
Mary Jillian Walzer
Gordon Bob Winstead
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Laughing Stoplessly
by playgoer
Tuesday, September 15, 2015
When Lionheart Theatre first did "Laughing Stock" in 2007, it struck me as the type of play that’s hilarious on the page and only sporadically entertaining on the stage. Oh, what a difference a new production makes! This season’s production is funny throughout, with several inspired comic bits that easily produce belly laughs.

The big difference, I suppose, is in the cast. There are a couple of holdovers from the previous cast (Larry Jr. as Tyler Taylor and Lee Finocchio as Richfield Hawksley), but they are more assured and comical than I remember. The rest of the cast pull off their performances with comic commitment. There’s not a great deal of depth in most of the characters, but the actors inhabit them. In viewing it, I thought there were moments that might be more effective this way or more comical that way, but the whole thing just works. I was particularly impressed by James Connor’s intensity as Craig and Jillian Walzer’s physical comedy as Mary.

When a production holds together this well, the director deserves a great deal of the credit. Tanya Caldwell has blocked the 14 cast members on the smallish stage to provide consistently good sightlines, and has contributed to the set design (with Rick Thompson) and to the sound design (with Bob Peterson). The faux log cabin walls are enhanced by a barn door and irregularly shaped decorations with more realistic wood planking, and scene-changing music builds nicely on the lines of the previous scene. Gary White’s light design and Linda Hughes costumes enhance the visual appeal.

The storyline concerns a summer stock season in which wrong-headed actors, monetary constraints, and a patroness with specific preferences wreak havoc on the intentions of artistic director Gordon (Bob Winstead). His story provides the heart of the piece, and his chemistry with ex-wife Sarah (Holli Majors) comes across as true. His performance is not as flashy as that of many of the eccentrics surrounding him, but it works extremely well in grounding the action. The story arc of Jack (Jeremy Reid), who is contemplating leaving the field of acting for law school, also has a genuine feel that contrasts with the comic mayhem that flavors much of the action. But it’s the comic bits, from Larry Jr.’s overacting as Dracul to Marla Krohn’s inappropriate hand movements as Dracul’s acolyte, that really flavor "Laughing Stock" and make it a delight to experience. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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