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Old Alabama Road Company - A Community Theater1
Average Rating Given : 5.00000
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REVIEWS

Butterflies are Free, by Leonard Gershe
Hurry before the Butterflies are Free for good!
Friday, February 17, 2006
5.0
In the interests of full disclosure, I know many of the people involved with this production. However, I am not a fan of the script. I went to the show to support the efforts of my friends - and am I glad I did. What I expected was a decent performance of a mediocre show. What I got was so much more.

This show had the two hallmarks of any top notch production - excellent direction and excellent performances. Any flaws in the set, lighting, etc. simply fade away when those two elements are solid. Chris Mayer directed this production with the skill of a professional - the pacing was perfect, the timing was excellent, and the characters multi-dimensional. The man is so good, he could make rednecks and wrestlers weep at a production of Steel Magnolias

The comedic lines, of which there were many, were delivered with seamless timing by everyone. The dramatic moments were both tender and sincere, really drawing you into the scene as if you were a fly on the wall. And the transitions between the two were smooth as silk.

Jim Dailey hits a home run as Don, the blind man living on his own for the first time. He sold me quickly that he was blind - a feat that must not have been easy to do. Great comedic timing, great expressions, great movement. He's both strong and vulnerable as he develops a new relationship with his eccentric, free-loving neighbor played by Kallie Gay. Kallie manages to bring the perfect mix of high strung energy and sensuality. She seems to get the better portion of the comedic lines, which she delivered with laser accuracy. Her only flaw was not anticipating the lengthy peals of laughter from the audience to her delivery and rushing too quickly to the next line. She's always bouncing about the stage, but it never feels forced - very natural for her character. Don's over-protective mother, played masterfully by Cheryl Rogers, manages to have us both love and hate her - and not necessarily in that order. Her banter with the other characters was sharp, funny, touching, and always in proportion to the moment. Of particular note is the strong performance of Jarroll White as Ralph Austin. His performance proves that there are no small parts, only small actors. His few minutes on stage are a delight. After you see him play the sleazy director, you'll wonder how anyone else could have done it. I could go on and on about the very strong performances (which I'm sure the actors would love!), but suffice to say I was very pleasantly surprised by such a strong ensemble presentation.

I toyed with whether or not to grade this a 4 or 5. While the show wasn't perfect (what show is?), its flaws were so minor that they almost do not merit mention. Trained eyes could spot that a few lines were dropped and recovered, but that is what makes theater so wonderful - actors flying without a net.

Many times I see local performances and wish I had not parted with my hard earned money. This performance was money well spent. An intimate space, a simple set, a powerful performance, and a master conductor pulling it together. Only one night left to enjoy this funny, touching production that should bring pride to the Old Alabama Road Company. Catch it while you can.

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