Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler

Comedy and mayhem ruled the stage Friday as Clio Cast and Crew opened their production of Stealing Home written by Pat Cook.  The cast played to an almost full house on opening night.

Pat Cook is a prodigious playwright who has written mysteries, comedies, plays for holidays, and much more.  Stealing Home starts with two bungling burglars who break into a funeral home…by accident.  Of course the police show up, but the two “bad guys” are saved by the owner who recognizes one of them as her long, lost son.  Of course her three daughters want her to sell the place and have to deal with the new threat.  Is Cecil her long, lost son, Jimmy?  Will the daughters prevail?  Sorry, you have to see the play to find out.

The play revolves around a lost and found child, greed, love, and the unexpected twists and turns of life.

Timing is critical in comedy and the cast and crew of Stealing Home were right on the mark throughout the performance.  The entire cast worked well together.

Cecil-Jimmy (J.R. Nunley) is the brains of the outlaw duo and handles that role and all of the changing situations on stage extremely well.  Pug (Dean Norrington) is his not-so-bright partner.  As a team they were total opposites, which played very well. Together they are a gem on stage.  J.R.’s character even gets the girl.

Officer Doughberg (Carl Frost) looks and acts like a policeman, even if his performance was a little uneven.  He loses the girl to J.R.’s character.  Playing Kathryn Meadows, Joan Crandall gave a good performance as the mortician of the funeral home.  She brought a great deal of energy to the stage.  Beulah Meadows played Sandra Turner, the owner of the funeral home. She was very believable as Jimmy’s mother and her smile brightened up the stage.

The three daughters were a very strong, engaging trio.  Keri Arnold played the timid and shy daughter Zelda who everyone bossed around.  As Imogene, Kendra Babcock was the mysterious one who was always talking about crows, fogs, and other strange subjects.  She also wore a lot of black.  Rounding out the trio, Laura Horton played Gretchen, the bossy sister.  She was referred to as Hitler and a dictator.  Everyone seemed to fear her.  They all gave solid performances. Watching them on stage as they schemed to get control was hysterical.

Mike Dickinson played Hunter, the family attorney, who was a grumpy old guy who talked to himself.  He added greatly to the mayhem.  Also worthy of mention were Jan Helfrich as Angilina, a phony nun trying to help Jimmy and Kim Norrington playing the phony shrink, Phoebe.  Both added to the mayhem of the 2nd act.

There were a few minor issues.  One was the location of the receptionist’s desk, located upstage thus causing blocking issues.  Putting it downstage right would have helped.  There were several places throughout the performances where it was obvious that lines were messed up or dropped.  There were times when actors (Beulah and Pug) lowered the volume.

The set made us feel as though we were in a real funeral home.  Loved the casket and I wanted someone to at least acknowledge it during the play.  The light and sound crew did an excellent job of ending the scenes exactly when they should have.  Costumes were well done.  Crew also did a good job with the scene changes.  A round of applause to the director, Jim Waner, for putting together a solid production.

Clio Cast & Crew’s production of Stealing Home is worth seeing and I highly recommend it.  Stealing Home performances are March 16, 22, 23, at 7:30pm, and March 17 & 24, at 2pm.  Performances are held at Studio 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio Mi, 48420.  For tickets and reservations call 810-687-5588.  They are also on Facebook.


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