BWW Review: THE BOOK OF LIZ at Monster Box Theatre is a Full of Laughs and Cheeseballs!
The Book of Liz, a play by Amy Sedaris and David Sedaris, is currently running through December 16th at the Monster Box Theatre in Waterford. The Sedaris' are known for their comedic writing and this play does not let the audience down, nor does the production at the Monster Box Theatre - it is truly a laugh fest from beginning to end. It is kind of hard not to laugh at a parish who keeps to themselves and their community is supported by the production of cheeseballs. It takes a very special theatre to execute the comedy well and Monster Box Theatre did just that.
The Book of Liz tells the tale of Sister Elizabeth Dunderstock (Angela Dill) who lives in a parish in the community of Squeamish. They keep to themselves and God while supporting their parish on the production of cheeseballs that are crafted by Sister Elizabeth all by herself. When Brother Brightbee (Daniel DeRey) comes to serve in the parish and influences change over Reverend Tollhouse (Mike Olsen) on how things should run, Sister Elizabeth feels underappreciated and resolves to leave her community and journeys to a new life. Along the way, she meets a smattering of outlandish characters, including a woman dressed as "Mr. Peanut" (Allison Megroet,) and her foreign family. Through her new friends, Liz gets a job at a chain restaurant and bonds with the recovering alcoholic manager (Jeremiah Pauling) and his staff. When she is offered a promotion with the condition of changing things about herself, she must decide what to do next.
Angela Dill played the role of Sister Elizabeth Dunderstock. Dill was fabulous in the role. Her innocence and vulnerability as Sister Elizabeth, yet strength and boldness were the perfect amount on the stage to really bring the character to life and make her believable. It was a joy to watch her on stage. She made you want to laugh with, cry with, and give her Liz a hug all at the same time. Dill made her Sister Elizabeth human and made the audience connect with her, which is sometimes a difficult feat in a comedy, but she did it superbly.
Al Bartlett played the role of Brother Hesikiah. Bartlett, by far, was one of the highlights of the entire production - this man knows what he is doing on stage, even when the focus is not on him. All the tiny details that Bartlett did as Brother Hesikiah were wonderfully done and had the audience in uproarious laughter during the show. He knew how to support the cast well and the was the perfect touch to the production.
Daniel DeRey played the role of Brother Brightbee. DeRey is a performer that you have to separate from the role because he does such a good job of making you be annoyed by his character. His performance as Brother Brightbee emitted the same emotions as Dolores Umbridge from the Harry Potter series those of which are irksome, then annoying, then dislike, proving that DeRey was excellent in his role.
A quick mention of the Monster Box Theatre and amazing theatre space that it inhabits. There is a café inside to enjoy food and beverages before the show and at intermission. What a great surprise when I came to the show! Coffee, tea, pop, water, food such as pizza, along with gluten free options, and more were offered for sale. A cute and comfy space and something different compared to what else is out there - plus if you don't finish before the show starts or during intermission, you can enjoy your drinks and eats during the performance. I really loved my hot cider with whipped cream during the show!
The Book of Liz is a fantastic comedy wrote by two exceptional comedians and it takes a talented cast and theatre to bring it life, which is exactly what Monster Box Theatre is in every way. Come early and enjoy the café then laugh along following the dilemmas that Sister Elizabeth Dunderstock faces when she leaves cheeseballs behind!
The Book of Liz is currently running until December 16th at the Monster Box Theatre in Waterford. For more information and tickets, visit www.monsterboxtheatre.com.
Connect with Monster Box Theatre on Twitter at @MonsterBoxThtr.