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Thursday, Mar. 21, 2019

Review: ‘Beautiful, Crazy’ all that & more

JOHN VINING/special to the independent

Have you ever thought that the patients are running the asylum? Well, if you come to see Off Stage Productions’ presentation of Beautiful, Crazy at the Vantage Career Center, you might be “righter than ya thought.”

Coffee-server and social climber Jim wishes to date beautiful starlet Alicia. There is just one problem: Alicia barely knows that Jim is alive. The same cannot be said for his friend Cindy, a nurse in a mental ward who secretly harbors tender feelings for Jim. The callous Jim decides to use Cindy’s friendship and position at the mental ward to make his pitch to attract Alicia. What follows is a hilarious romp as Cindy, Alicia, the residents, and various officials at the hospital assume their roles in Jim’s nefarious plot.

Directors Dan Bulau and Amy Shoppell make full use of a new venue and new lighting to bring this rollicking two-act play to you.

Shown are Beautiful, Crazy cast members (from the left) Emily Smith, Marcy Shoppell, Matt Krol, Adam Ries, Rachel Dettrow, Terri Stevens, Staci Kaufman, Dolores Foreman, Julie Miller, Steve Bricker and Kelly Smith. The Off Stage Productions play continues through April 22. photo provided

The players get into the full spirit of the farce. Ever-patient Cindy (Rachel Dettrow) resolutely works with Jim (Adam Ries) to pull off a series of seemingly impossible scenarios.

Dettrow brings just the right amount of tenderness and incredulity to the role. The affable everyman Jim exhibits equal amounts of scheming and shrewdness in his love-sick, almost breathless stratagem to woo Alicia. Ries is perfect for the part as he pleads, cajoles, and pressures the various players into his zany plan for the conquest.

As for the future star [at least in her own mind] Alicia (Kelly Smith), she sweeps and saunters about the stage basking in the aura of her own self-importance. In any other review, the phrase “overacting” would be a severe censure, but when you see this play, you will find it is high praise indeed. Smith fills this role admirably.

The supporting players, most of them residents of the mental ward, each has his or her own hilarious moment in the sun. The side-stage antics of “heart-of gold” Butter (Julie Miller) are worth the price of admission. Pathological liar Tom (Steve Bricker) claims to have experienced a broad range of activities that are unbelievable … for a good reason!

Catatonic poser Jane (Delores Foreman) breaks up the few serious moments of the play with physical humor. This is not easy to do but Foreman pulls it off with ease. Which of Sam’s (Terri Stevens) multiple personalities is the crazy one? Maybe they all are! Stevens moves seamlessly from personality to personality — each more outrageous than the prior.

Seeking to impose order amongst chaos, earnest Alex (Staci Kaufman) “cannot tell a lie” … even down to exact mathematical sums. Kaufman’s portrayal of OCD will have you both laughing and reflecting, but, one way or the other, you will never look at a fidget spinner in the same way again! The menacing entrance of Officer Bob (Matt Krol) may have you quaking, but you will soon find he is more like “Doofy” (of Scary Movieinfamy) than “Kojak.” Krol steals several of the scenes.

Again recalling an iconic character from the movies, stern Nurse Decker (Emily Smith) enters with Officer Bob to set things right. Smith portrays her role in the best tradition of “Nurse Ratched,” but like Ratched, she might find that sternness is not always the best medicine. Finally, Dr. Hollifield (Marcy Shoppell) visits the hospital with the best intentions, but soon succumbs to the overall zaniness of the improbable antics.

Makes sure to catch the one-liners that regularly pop up throughout the show — they highlight an already funny story line.

Beautiful, Crazywill be presented at Vantage Career Center in Van Wert. Remaining performance dates and times are as follows:

Friday/Saturday, April 20, and 21 — doors open 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7, show at 8. Sunday matinee, April 22 — doors open 12:30, dinner at 1 and performance at 2.

Don’t miss this opportunity to enjoy a fine meal and laugh with the Off Stage Productions players.

POSTED: 04/16/18 at 7:52 am. FILED UNDER: News