Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner will make you crazy with laughter.
The show which is directed by Susan Bennett opened October 26 and 27 at the Mesquite Community Theatre. Bunny Wiseman who was the assistant director once again shows just how talented she is with her natural ability to see just how something should be done and making it happen.
It seems crazy how the three ladies played by Luise Stewart (Dora), Maury Putnam (Lydia) and Cathy Buchanan (Maggie) can keep up with their lines. Those who have seen the show know what that means, those that haven’t yet, well, let’s just say you’re in for a treat when you do. It not only says a lot about the talent these three ladies possess, it says a lot about the relationship they’ve developed during their time in rehearsals. Bennett chose well when she cast these three crazy, wonderful women.
Blake Syndergaard plays the selfish and greedy Phillip Van Horn. Syndergaard said, “Susan always seems to cast me as the bad guy.” His fellow cast members joke with him about whether Bennett is trying to tell him something but those who know Syndergaard know that the character he plays is far different from who he really is. What Syndergaard jokes about is true though, Bennett first cast Syndergaard as the Grinch in a long ago production of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and now Bennett’s got him trying to steal Christmas again, this time from his own mother and aunts. You’ll have to see the show to find out how.
Rachel Soto, who plays the part of Jean, a young nurse, comes to live with the sisters because of the cunning and slightly bended story spun by the sisters’ Doctor and Jean’s employer. Soto began this play with the fear that she wouldn’t be able to remember all those lines. Soto far exceeded Bennett’s expectations. Bennett said, “I am so proud of our little Jean, she is such a doll and has really shown just how much talent and potential she has for the stage, she’s beautiful up there, I can’t imagine anyone else in that part.” The ladies haven’t just taken young Soto under their wing in the play, they all seem to have a special affection for her offstage as well.
James Thompson finally comes to the front of the stage as Blue, the delivery boy who seems a bit nervous in the company of the crazy ladies and is in and out of the house on the corner as quickly as he can manage. Thompson was involved with the group for several productions but always seemed to do so back stage because none of the characters cast before were suited to his age, which is thirteen. Thompson hung in there and bided his time until there was a part that was just right for his first time in front of the curtains and does an outstanding job of getting the laughs from the audience in his brief appearances.
The part of the good doctor was split between Paul Benedict and Ted Ung who both do an outstanding job portraying the meddlesome but with good intention, Dr. Arnold Lomax. Each of these men bring their own unique flavor to the character and it’s like watching a different show when each are performing, but they both bring the laughs from the audience and fellow cast members, especially during the Christmas party when their character seems dramatically altered and the dialogue gets a bit tricky.
The character of Jessica (Teri Nehrenz) appears in the last act to put Phillip Van Horn (Syndergaard) in his place and reveal the truth about the old Brown house. You’ll have to come to the show to see what that truth is.
The most amazing of the cast members are the two high school seniors who learned the part of Calvin Murphy in only a week. George Barias came in on an emergency basis only one week before the curtains opened on this play. Barias not only learned and mastered the part of Calvin but is in the middle of rehearsals for the high school play and the high school marching band which goes to competition this weekend. This is why his good friend, Dalton Mitchell, l agreed to step in and learn the part in a week also; now that’s team work.
The boys would both agree that working with Putnam (Lydia) on school lunch hours and right after school really helped them to learn the part. Putnam’s determination in finding someone to fill in for the part of Calvin and her dedication to working with them literally saved the play from being cancelled at the last minute. The cast and crew are very grateful to these three actors for saving the day.
The crew members couldn’t have been better chosen to do the outstanding job they did on lights, sound and set. Jenny Bennett handles the complicated task of getting the sound just right so the audience doesn’t miss a beat in the crazy conversations between these three ladies and Mike Williams brings the lights up and down many times for scene changes.
Shirl Williams and Sandi Sorenson bring the stage through many season changes with skill and swiftness. Sorenson decorated the stage for the seasons just as beautifully as she decorates the lobby for many productions in the theatre. Most audience members know what to expect from Sorenson’s decorative eye and in this house she doesn’t disappoint. She and William’s bring a lot of style to each and every scene change.
There wouldn’t be a house on the corner if it weren’t for Jimmy Branchini who built the home the crazy ladies seem never to want to leave. Branchini has his hands full backstage trying to keep everything going smooth between the back stage crew and the sound and light techs but the cast couldn’t be more confident in his abilities, especially those who have worked with Branchini in the past.
Jimmy isn’t the only Branchini who has their hands in keeping the cast free of worry. Laura Branchini is the one who makes sure the cast looks their best. Laura Branchini spends hours putting makeup on the cast members and making sure hairstyles are right for the scenes. Branchini and Shirl Williams both share the task of helping with those sometimes tricky and quick costume changes.
You’re sure to thank them and the rest of the cast for the good time and laughter you will have when you come to this weekend’s production of Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner. You really don’t want to miss this wild and crazy production.
Those Crazy Ladies is scheduled for Friday, November 2 and Saturday, November 3 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.