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Tuesday, 28 February 2012 21:03

Wake up and laugh, St. Louis.

Written by Shahnaz Ahmed
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Wake up and laugh, St. Louis.
westendplayers.org / John Lamb

The world premiere of "Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs", is a charming, smart, and witty evening of comedy. It was very well acted, and I particularly enjoyed the light hearted humor.

This play is about a disastrous 30th birthday dinner that doesn't go as planned (or maybe it does). Hilarious moments and snappy dialogue ensued, and I was hooked from the beginning.

Bright and vivacious characters filled the stage. Colleen Backer (as Abby) and Eric Dean White (as Owen) play a lovable newly married couple preparing for Cameron's birthday dinner. The realism and cuteness to their relationship was obvious from the beginning. I enjoyed the fast and witty back and forth dialogue between them. These two actors exhibited some great stage chemistry and presence.

Cameron Dobbs's (played by John Foughty) is a lovable, clumsy push-over with major insecurities. John does a fantastic job with Cameron's character. From the moment he stepped on stage wearing a bloody nose and shirt, I liked his performance. Sarajane Alverson (as Natalie), portrays an attractive, but shallow woman who's Cameron's surprise blind date. It was a real treat watching the interactions between Cameron and Natalie in their first awkward meeting.

All the actors did a great job, but the show was stolen by Jan Meyer (as Helen, Cameron and Owen's mother). A brilliant performance portraying the over protective mother and the critical mother-in-law. I laughed hysterically at her character's extreme concern for Cameron. I enjoyed Helen's snide remarks about Abby's cooking in Abby's absence. She effectively played a very typical mother-in-law that one would love to hate.

I don't want to give away much more, but if you are into comedies with misunderstandings between characters and snappy dialogue, this one is for you. Those of you who choose the dark and deep may not appreciate the frivolousness of this play.

I must add that the sound design was done by KDHX's own Chuck Lavazzi. The selection for background music was enjoyable. Also, the playwright Stephen Peirick is a St. Louis area playwright. This is the second time I'm reviewing a home-grown play, and it makes me proud that such excellence comes from my own proverbial backyard. I believe in supporting our own community of playwrights, and in this case, it's very easy to support Peirick with this brilliant comedy.

Robert Ashton has several years of experience both with acting and directing, and it shows. The show was very well put together and all the blocking seemed to gel.

Costume design by Colleen Heneghan was also very well done. The women's clothing in this play was modern and appropriate. No detail was missed, down to the matching shoes that Natalie's character wore. I especially loved Natalie's animal print blouse. It went well with her character.

In general, I would like to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the play. It was a fun watch and I wouldn't mind going again. "Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs" continues at West End Players Guild through March 4th.

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