THE CUSTOMER IS ALWAYS RIGHT: a review
5 Comedies Debuted by The Statlight Players
1001 Cocoanut Ave., Sarasota, FL, 941-702-5613
July 15 to 18, 2015
Reviewed by Marie J. Kilker
Larry Parr’s A Line of Malarky took place at a garage sale where Mary Jo Johnson’s commanding Lucille Malarky put out a teapot that Camilla, a customer (played effervescently by Skyla Dawn Luckey) wanted to buy. But what was the dust inside and how would they get rid of it? Both gals qualified as killer pals before a mutually satisfactory ending. Mark Woodland directed both with no damage to the teapot or the gals’ new friendship but lots of laughs. The set was the most ambitious of the program with just the right amount of clutter.
Ren Pearson rang a lot of bells (figuratively) as a customer trying to cancel a TV package by phoning for Customer Service. But he didn’t figure having his pleas silenced by supervisor Delia Revard. Ren also nicely played a frustrated customer in No Sugar. Director Preston Boyd managed to have Ren and Delia act quite differently in each piece, though the characters by Philip W. Hall in both instances were brothers and sisters under the skin (also figuratively). Frustration seemed ever so much of the type experienced by the audience, if one were to judge their reactions.
A world premiere, Penitents, written and directed by Jack Gilhooley, was the longest play in the program (30+ mins.) but it moved very quickly. In the play Jeremy Guerrero as slick Michael, a medical intern, went into a confessional for what had become a routine. No such ordinariness this time. Alison Prouty’s strident Sister Kathleen was sitting in for the parish priest, there being a shortage of same. She supposedly had been delegated the job by the usual confessor. As if that weren’t so difficult for Michael to absorb, it turns out Kathleen was his former lover. Suspense! Would they revert to their old ways? If so, they had to wade through a lot of satire first. Or did they?
Thanks for the Memories by Marvin Albert was the hit conclusion of the program. Chuck Conlon played Max, a forgetful old codger seeking out a park bench for himself and Betty, even more forgetful. Both were a stitch reviving a romance and contemplating ways to be sure they can consumate it. Then a Police Officer played sympathetically by Dave Downer told them he wouldn’t be able to escort them back to their hotel. It didn’t exist. Yet, in a twist, the ending wasn’t at all unhappy! Again, director Mark Woodland was responsible for excellent pacing.
In all the plays the professionalism of actors and directors stood out, especially in a debut venture. Jo Morello was the Producer and Managing Director of the troupe and the plays. The staff included: Tech. Director: Steve Patmagrian; Production Mgr.: Monica Cross; Production Coordinator: Jamie Le Butrum. Preston Boyd operated Sound. House Managers were Don Walker and Ruth Goldman, alternating.
The Starlite Players’ next production, THIS ISN’T WHAT I EXPECTED, again incorporating several comedies, takes place August 13 through 16 in The Starlite Room, Sarasota.