“OUT OF THE FRYING PAN” AT CCC GIVES AUDIENCES MUCH TO LAUGH AT

Reviewed by Joseph Michael Mishler

            Out of the Frying Pan by Francis Swann frying panopened strong at Clio Cast and Crew. The audience laughed almost non-stop throughout the play.

Set in the 1940s, Out of the Frying Pan takes place in an apartment where six out of work actors live. They are broke and are trying to get the attention of the producer who lives below them. Whenever they start rehearsing the play, which is currently in production, things never seem to work out. If it weren’t for bad luck, they would have no luck. But they don’t give up.

Three men and three women portray the actors. One couple is secretly married. Throughout the play the lead actor constantly throws Stanislavki’s name around and some of his acting theories. I am sure Stanislavski might have been impressed by his name constantly being invoked. One of the young girls’ fathers shows up, and he is unhappy. The producer shows up. The landlady makes a number of very funny appearances.

If there was ever a play that allowed actors to go over the top, Out of the Frying Pan fits the bill. Director Andrea Wilkerson did a fine job of casting.

The play flowed well, and the cast had the timing down. There were a few minor blocking issues, but they didn’t really detract. It might have been better to play the peephole in the floor downstage since the upstage position put actors in an awkward situation.

Steve Visser played Norman, the guy who seemed to be in charge and the one who was quite intimate with Stanislavski. Visser was in his element and handled the changing confusion with ease. He was fun to watch.

Steve Yerian played George Bodell, who was the opposite of Norman and didn’t really care about Stanislavski. Dennis Wayne Spence played Tony Denison, another actor who is secretly married. He was difficult to understand at times.

Rochelle Dula played Marge Benson who is secretly married to Tony. She was also fun to watch with all of her over played dramatics. She had a unique voice that was hard to miss.

Becky Coggins played Kate Ault who was very talented in mixing up Micky Finns. She also gave a good performance.

Cassidy Couturier played Dottie Colburn, a very petite actress with boundless energy. She played the clueless part very well. Her costumes always seemed a bit too big which only added to the character.

Others who also stood out were Sandy Turner playing Mrs. Garnet, the landlady. She momentarily stole the show when she broke into an Irish ballad. William Kircher played Mr. Kenny, the producer and a wannabe chef. He played the part well.

Finally, Wendy Davis, Christopher Dinnan, Shane Wachowicz, and Colin Edwards also  contributed to the chaos and mayhem on stage.

While the set was a bit crowded, it did look like a well-used apartment. The theatre announcer even got into the act. He gave the audience a quiz about the 1940s during one of the intermissions—The winner had to clean the theatre after the show.

I do question why they allow audience members to send messages to the actors during intermission. That seems a bit risky because of the potential for negativism.

If you are looking for an evening of good laughter, I heartily recommend Out of the Frying Pan.

Performances run through June 23rd at Clio Cast and Crew’s Theatre 57, 2220 W. Vienna Rd., Clio, MI 48420. For more info contact the box office at 810-687-2588 or online at www.cliocastandcrew.com

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