- Reporters Desk
By John Farrell, Curtain Call Writer
Shakespeare by the Sea’s season is running down and it is Little Fish Theatre’s turn to be a host, with two comedies that will fill its newly air-conditioned theater.
The Kitchen Witches by Caroline Smith and Rounding Third by Richard Dresser form a double-header through Aug. 31.
Opening night for The Kitchen Witches was a bit of a dramatic trainwreck. The lead actors, Madeleine Drake as Dolly Biddle and Adriana Bate Isobel (Izzy) Lomax, had only three days to learn their parts when the originally cast actresses were unable to continue. Both carried scripts with them so they could be sure of their lines. They had generous help from the two others in the cast, Glen Alexander as Stephen Biddle (Dolly’s son and her show producer) and Rob the Camera Guy (Christopher Bunyl,) who had rehearsed many more hours. The show was pretty good, at least from the acting standpoint. Drake managed a convincing accent for the first part of the play.
But there were many other problems. The kitchen sink didn’t work in the first act. After an adjustment, the lights burned out a breaker that included the new air-conditioning and the second act was down to just the house lights.
Rounding Third had less technical problems: just two actors coaching a Little League team, with the audience acting as team members.
The first thing you notice in Rounding Third is the spot-on perfection of the casting choices. Director Bert Pigg chose Brantley Black for Don, the gung-ho coach. You couldn’t have found a better man for the part. He is very muscular, and proud of it. He wants his team to play to win. He is a drill instructor to that team, until he reveals his softer, hidden side.
Garret Replogle is almost his opposite. He appears first in business suit and is often summoned to his cell phone by a demanding boss. His hair is perfectly. The little piece of hair that extends just below his baseball cap says much about his job and his worries. This includes a son on the team who is arguably the worst player they have.
Don and Michael take most of the first act to warm up to each other. Together they almost win the championship, learning about each other in the process. But they never become friends, even at play’s end.
The Kitchen Witches is a simple comedy about two women who are enemies but share more than a few secrets. The play itself is more sit-com than drama.
Rounding Third has more pretensions, and is the better play, though it lacks a coherent ending and leaves the audience a little confused. Both, though, are amusing and worth seeing (if the air-conditioning is working).
Tickets are $27 for general admission, $24 for seniors and $20 for students for both plays.
The Kitchen Witches plays at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, through Aug. 31.
Rounding Third plays at 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays through Aug. 21.