BEACHWEAR SUGGESTED; SHOES OPTIONAL
Reviewed by Kathleen Kirby
Clio Cast and Crew kicked off summer with Michael Parker and Susan Parker’s comical production of Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses. The title derives from the motto given the hotel long ago by the owner to promote it as a wedding venue thus reaching a specific style of guest. While more than just wedded bliss is on the table here, there is lots of intrigue and fun to be had as well.
We first meet Candy (Jessi Eldredge), the new hotel receptionist who, among other responsibilities, also manages to make her share of mistakes often sending guests and the hotel into mix-up’s and mayhem! Eldredge plays her character with a bit of a daft look that often explains her penchant for mistakes and comic repentance.
We find that Audrina Brown (Paula Price) has inherited the Lovers’ Landing Beach Hotel from her recently deceased father. It will be her unfamiliarity with the place that will lead her Uncle Bubba to take center stage in running this place. Price brings a sweet Southern belle style to this role even if her accent causes her to slow the tempo a bit.
As Wilberforce “Bubba” Brown, Larry Stecco has a good grasp of his double role first of handyman and then as extravagant female stand-in for the absent wedding planner. His transitions are pretty smooth and comical even if the womanly role is well over the top!
With a wide reputation earned over time, the hotel has no trouble attracting the wealthy and entitled Beatrice Rutherford-Smythe (Mary Smith Powers) to check out the place for the wedding of her daughter, Traci Rutherford-Smythe (Dawn Sabourin). Unimpressed with her daughter’s choice of a husband however, she immediately begins finding reasons to call this wedding off.
Powers is properly prim at first even as she begins to emerge from her proper shell. She is fun to watch as her struggle to maintain her decorum gives way to her true feelings after all.
Of course the simple wedding squabble won’t hold the comedy long. It isn’t until the arrival of a gentleman named Doug (John Dunning) who is assigned to the room Traci had reserved for her fiancé that things begin to get dicey.
Soon followed by Peter (Alex Weiss) who is the actual fiancé, the plot begins to unravel as poor Peter is placed in a different room. Of course, the two are mixed up, and we begin to think we’re watching a Shakespearean comedy with all the crossed wires and conundrums!
Also, Sabourin was great as she steamed back and forth deciding whether her lover is to be trusted or not. Her enthusiasm is terrific!
Written by British writers Michael and Susan Parker, the Bard’s comedy fits in quite well. Director William Kircher managed to keep his stage pretty flexible even with a lot of folks to deal with at times. We found the set design to be charming with its turquoise and coral motif and flower bedecked Tiki bar, exits and entrances.
The tempo is slow at times, especially in the first act with all the new folks being introduced. Overall, this show should pick up steam with time and will be even more rollicking than Friday’s audience found it to be!
Sandy Toes and Salty Kisses continues at Theatre 57, June19, 25 & 26 at 7:30 pm and June 20 & 27 at 2:30 pm. For more information contact the website at
www.cliocastandcrew.com or find them on Facebook at Clio Cast and Crew, Inc.