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Review: CRY IT OUT at Ankeny Community Theatre

A thoughtful production that will have you reflecting long after the show closes.

Review: CRY IT OUT at Ankeny Community Theatre
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Over the last few years of doing reviews, I've had the pleasure of seeing some true gems in our theatre community that are just outside of Des Moines. While these theatres may not have the budget of some of the Des Moines theatres, the heart and creativity they bring is just as strong. One example of this is Ankeny Community Theatre's production of "Cry it Out" by Molly Smith Metzler, which opened on June 3. Thanks to some of the creative choices they've made with this show, it has stuck with me since seeing it. As I think more about the show, I've found myself appreciating the creativity even more.

"Cry It Out" tells the story of two moms, Jessie and Lena, who meet daily between their houses to chat about how life is going now that they each have babies. The first scene sets up that they will discuss the parenting methods they plan to use and how they want to live after their maternity leave is over. One day while having their daily chat, a neighbor from up the hill comes and asks them if his wife can join them in their chats. While there is some hesitation at first, they agree. They quickly found out that the wife did not want to be there, and maybe the husband needed these talks more. In the end, it leaves us asking who in the show is the person who needs to "Cry it Out."

One thing that I believed helped this show was the cohesiveness between the direction and the technical elements, thanks to the direction, set design, and costume design by Cheryl Clark. Her direction leads us to ask ourselves if the kids needed to cry it out or if it was one of the parents. She cleverly does this by taking a play that takes place outside and giving a nursery setting, and the adults are the ones playing with blocks and moving them around to tell the story. This plays into the costuming as well. Having the cast in clothes, they would typically wear plays up the idea that the adults are playing in the nursery and need to address their feelings about what is happening around them.

The show centers around Jessie, played by Maureen Moroney, and Lena, played by Riley Devick, who both do a fantastic job establishing the friendship these two characters have from the top of the show. It was easy to see how their character's relationships grew closer throughout the show. In her Ankeny Community Theatre debut, Maureen takes on the task of being the show's emotional core as she decides if she wants to stay home at the end of her maternity leave or go back to work. For those who have been going to shows at Ankeny for a while or seen Des Moines Young Artists' Theatre shows, you will recognize Riley Deick, who takes on a more mature role in this show. Her growth as an actor is seen in one of her best roles to date. The cast also features Todd Reed as Mitchell and Isabella Velez as Adrienne.

While there is terrific theatre happening throughout Des Moines, I highly recommend looking at some fantastic theatre in the surrounding communities. These theatre gems are making impactful theatre that has the audiences thinking about the shows long after they close. Ankeny Community Theatre's production of "Cry it Out" is a production that will have you thinking about and have a growing appreciation for long after the show closes. This production is open for a limited time, through June 12.

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