Monday, October 12, 2015

"One Slight Hitch" is old-style door-slamming fun

Cast of One Slight Hitch (Christine Mosere)
One Slight Hitch
Phoenix Theatre
Through November 1, 2015

Comedian Lewis Black wrote One Slight Hitch and it was produced at ACT Theatre in 2012. Deliberately set in 1981 – “morning in (Reagan’s) America,” it is a throwback to old-style slamming door farce. ACT’s production was sluggish and not very funny. It had the stalwart R. Hamilton Wright as the dad and Marianne Owen as the mom and they did their utmost to bring the comedy.

Phoenix Theatre does comedies. So it fits their modality and they are pretty great at old-style slamming door farce! Their mounting of the play is faster, funnier and sillier than the lugubrious ACT production. I even laughed at more of the jokes!

It’s Courtney’s wedding day. Courtney (Elizabeth Adkisson) never thought she would get married, but then she met Harper (J. Woody Lotts) and felt happy, so she changed her mind. Parents Doc (Keith Dahlgren) and Delia (Melanie Calderwood) are throwing the wedding at their home.

Delia is overjoyed that she can make a beautiful wedding, after a war-time disaster she had for her own. Everyone is bustling about getting ready. Until. A “hitch” knocks on the door. It’s Courtney’s old boyfriend, Ryan (Jordan Fermstad), hitchhiking around for a visit. He has to use the bathroom (of course) and Doc enlists youngest daughter, P.B. (Rebekah Dawn) to keep Ryan away from Delia.

Oldest daughter Melanie (Simone Barron) arrives home from work as a nurse, adding a more acerbic and drunker commentary to the proceedings. A lot of booze is consumed.

Much of the storyline is completely predictable. The fun is in watching the delivery of the lines, particularly the interplay between Dad and Mom. Dahlgren and Calderwood are very funny and sweet together. Calderwood is in all their comedies, it seems, but it’s because she has such an amazing knack for it! Her timing is just about perfect in any role. She even manages to make a more serious regret-speech (probably Black’s real aim for the play) at the end sound reasonable and heartfelt.

This is a good introduction to Phoenix’s comedy line-up. Other comedies this season will be Expressing Willie by Rachel Crothers and in 2016 a wonderful Steven Dietz comedy, Becky’s New Car. This is the comedy company that “can.”

(Note: It doesn’t hurt that there is a parking lot full of free parking available! For those tired of trying to find parking in more dense areas of our region.)

For more information, go to www.phoenixtheateredmonds.org or call 206-533-2000.