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Saturday, 06 October 2012 15:34

Sloooowly I Turned....'Wonder of the World'

Written by Connie Bollinger
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I've admitted often that, with few exceptions, I'm not a lover of experimental theater; however David Lindsay-Abaire's "Wonder of the World" has fallen solidly into the "exceptional" category.

To try and describe this play it's, well, it's kind of like Neil Simon meets the Coen Brothers; incredible, violent at times, but hysterically funny. Wonder of the World is a fantastic journey that explores life, connectedness, love, courage, mysticism, fate, depression, relationships, suicide, coincidence and a host of other topics. Director Nancy Bell has done a great job of controlling the mayhem.

While re-arranging her husband Kip's sweater drawer Cass, discovers he has a really unusual and gross secret which leads her to question their entire relationship and the role fate or karma has played in her life so far. She leaves Kip and embarks on a journey of discovery which leads her to, of all places, Niagara Falls. On her way there she hooks up with suicidal Lois, who agrees to put off her death long enough to be Cass's sidekick for a while.

Once they arrive at the Falls, Cass spends her time crossing off items on her impossibly long bucket list and Lois spends her time drinking and lugging around the barrel that she expects will be the vehicle of her demise. They hook up with the Captain of a sight seeing boat, and some impossibly dense private detectives Kip has hired to find his love. By the time the production got to an amazingly insane version of The Newlywed Game, I was gasping with laughter.

Gabrielle M Greer is perfectly cast as Cass, small, blond, relentlessly perky, and undeniably charming. Spending time with Cass is like watching a Gracie Allen marathon. Ms Greer has a knack for comedy, impeccable timing and she's really pretty.

Lois is played by Ryan Natalino, the physical opposite of Cass. She's tall, dark haired, with long, long legs and the ability to play this complicated yet hilariously determined young woman. She, too, has the timing of a professional comedian, focusing on the perfect intonation of word or phrase to harvest the best laughs.

Kevin P. Lusk plays husband Kip, an obsequious yet lovable schlub, humiliated by his secret “thing” but willing to be exposed if it means Cass will come back to him. Mr. Lusk's portrayal of Kip was brilliant but quite uncomfortable for me, much as knowing Kip in real life would be.

Paul Lewellyn plays stalwart Captain Mike, a normal, everyday kind of guy lured by Cass' wacky charm. Mr. Lewellyn makes Captain Mike interesting and sympathetic. Tyler M. Linke and Anna M. Rossini are Glen and Karla, two former yarn store owners turned private detectives. They are unbelievably funny.

That brings us to the hardest working person in the entire cast, Katy Kearing. She has seven, count them SEVEN roles in this play and she is memorable in all of them, most notably as Janie the Relationship Therapist. Janie hosts a crazed version of the Newlywed Game and multi talented Ms Kearing commands the entire scene.

Also a grateful nod to the sound designer Bryce Allen and the set designer Jim Burwinkel; a lovely job, gentlemen.

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