Theater Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Gail M. Burns: Joan and Abe Phelps at Theater Barn have never been shy about booking outrageous and quirky comedies to open their season, and they have a knack for finding some really talented young comic actors as well. This year is no exception.
Larry Murray: You Should Be So Lucky is a great vehicle for young players, and Charles Busch is one of a handful of playwrights who are able to straddle the theatrical line between offbeat comedy and outright farce while always throwing in lots of unexpected twists and turns. Busch could be described as a writer whose work has characters who are more nervous and insecure than angst-ridden. They are exactly the kind of accessible roles young actors love to hone in on as they perfect their craft. And they aren’t too taxing on audiences either. His works aren’t performed nearly often enough in the Berkshire region. They offer such opportunities for playfulness.
Gail: An example of that playfulness came as director Phil Rice inserted Joan’s name into the list of VIPs the leading character meets at a swanky soiree, because for many young performers over the past 31 years meeting Joan Phelps has been an important moment in their early careers.
Larry: I’ve seen lots of promising actors at the Theater Barn, some of whom now have Equity cards. This year they certainly are kicking off the season with a corker of a play, one that is both a sort of madcap situation comedy but has characters that are both sweet and silly. There’s a generous dose of Jewish comedy, too, mashed up with gay humor, overwrought actresses and even a little supernatural possession. Something for everyone wrapped in a delightfully fast-paced show.