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BWW Review: SEND ME NO FLOWERS Lulls Audiences in Leander, TX

Now playing at Way Off Broadway Community Players Theatre, SEND ME NO FLOWERS is the third show in this community theatre's platinum season. Twenty years ago, with the spark of a Library fundraiser in mind, a cast of community players came together in Leander Texas to perform for the betterment of their community. Now celebrating their 20th season, their longevity is an artistic feat their passionate contributors take pride in. SEND ME NO FLOWERS, mostly known for its cinematic success starring Doris Day and Rock Hudson, was first performed on stage in 1960. Writers Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore received modest reviews along with this shows initial 40 performances. Their hilarious story of the Kimball's did not see major success until the cinematic rendition by Julius J Epstein, brought this American comedy to the big screen. George Kimball (locally played by Bill Craig) is the picture of health to anyone you ask, except him. Living day to day as a functioning hypochondriac, George Lives happily with his wife Judy Kimball (played by Tracy Cathey) in their quant 1950's neighborhood in Westchester, New York. Through coy eavesdropping, George overhears his physician speaking about a fatally ill patient, and in this misunderstanding, believes the sick party to be himself. The story of the Kimball's navigating this hilarious premise continues over three acts, with the choices and stakes trading between Mr. and Mrs. Kimball scene to scene.

Although this premise is wholeheartedly hilarious, the performance of The Way Off Broadway Community Players is underwhelming at best. Bill Craig, playing the high strung George Kimball, remains one high note through the first two acts, with little vocal variety or depth. Tracy Cathey, his counter part as Judy Kimball, was equally slow in pace and lacked depth or the believable intensity a wife would face with the idea of ones husband dying. Their lack of chemistry and individual motives were not cohesive onstage and therefore made for a vapid rendition of this 1950's misinformation comedy. The supporting cast of players matched the leads slow pace, and appeared more as caricatures than members of the Kimball's Westchester Community. Notably however, Glenn Aichlmayr, playing Mr. Atkins, an over excited cemetery salesman, was charming and although over the top, his reactions brought much needed energy to the stage.

In addition to watching the lack luster performances, the direction in most scenes by Gary Dean Hamilton was, and there is no better word for it, pointless. The same pacing and similar unmotivated blocking displayed by the actors was confusing and irrelevant to the action and communication happening on stage. The creative element of the dream sequences was welcoming and added some flare to the show and comedic element. However, when following the writing of the show, these sides were written to add depth to George and Judy's desires through picturesque and hilarious means. This motive by the writers was lost through the lack of character difference between the realistic scenes and these dreamlike sequences.

A phrase often heard in comedy is, "there is one pause in this show and it is not yours". With the timing of three full acts at two and a half hours, this show runs at a painful pace with many unneeded vocal pauses by each member of the cast. The longevity of this community theatre is admirable, specifically celebrating their 20th season, however this show did not hit the mark. With all good intentions considered, SEND ME NO FLOWERS now playing at The Way Off Broadway Community Players Theatre, is a classic show worth seeing the next time around.

WAY OFF BROADWAY COMMUNITY PLAYERS

SEND ME NO FLOWERS

by Carroll Moore and Norman Barasch
Directed by Gary Dean Hamilton

Evening Performances at 8pm:
January 13, 14, 20, 21, 27, 28, February 3, 4, 2017
Sunday Matinee: January 22 at 3pm

http://www.wobcp.org

Photo Credit: Jeremy Mielens



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From This Author Amy Bradley