“The Curious Savage” is Comical Fare

Reviewed by Karla Froehlich

Stirred in with a greedy family, John Patrick’s The Curious Savage, is an insightful comedy about mental health and who among us might be considered for an institution. Kudos to the set construction crew and set decorators for giving us a homey peek at institutional life with just enough to look at as well as enough fodder for the cast to use to enhance the eccentricities of the characters. Proper hats are flying off to the costumers, Dennis Swedorski and Ramona Russell, in this gorgeous production! Directors William Kircher and Mary Swedorski assembled a rainbow of talented actors to display these beautiful irregularities.

Susanne Helfrich, as Florence, glows with motherly affection and tender firmness. Ted Valley is delightfully entertaining as Hannibal, a self-proclaimed concert violinist with a flare for dance. Kaiser Henning’s, Jeffrey, is played earnestly, with care and understanding. Katie Davis manifests the joyful flitting about needed to play the character of Fairy May with glee. Rounding out those incarcerated is Mrs. Paddy, a woman who speaks in verse, exhibited with skill by Pat Walker.

The story is driven by the committal to the institution of Mrs. Ethel Savage, at the hands of her three stepchildren. We find evidence of Mrs. Savage’s sanity, as well as her possible insanity, delicately sprinkled throughout the show with stalwartness by Johanna Kurnik. This privileged family is dysfunctional on every level as evidenced with proper indifference by Paul Wallace as Titus, John Dunning as Samuel, and Paula Price, who especially commands the stage with her sweeping entrances and exits as Lily Belle.

Completing the ensemble the caregivers are exemplified proficiently by Karen Fenech as Miss Wilhelmina and Larry Stecco as Dr. Emmett. These two do their best to keep order as well as the patients and family happy. They’re up to the task!

This production is rife with subtle sight gags, with a little something happening all the time. Everyone does well to stay in character and not steal focus during the many scenes in which most all the characters are gathered.

Get out this weekend or next and enjoy this fun, live performance. Masks optional. Laughs required.

The Curious Savage continues at Clio Cast & Crew through November 14. For more information and curtain times contact the Box Office at 810-687-2588 or online at www.cliocastandcrew.com

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