note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone
The current show at the Newport Playhouse is "One Slight Hitch" by Lewis Black.The show takes place in the upper middle class family home of Doc and Delia Coleman on the wedding day of their daughter, Courtney. The slight hitch of the title is the unannounced arrival of Ryan, Courtney's ex-boyfriend, who unaware of her engagement, has dropped by to share the enlightenment he has experienced on the road. However Courtney's bridegroom to be, Harper, is his polar opposite. He is polite, mature, focused, spotlessly groomed and helpful to a fault. Ryan is a bit of a hippie and wants to write a book on his adventures of hitchhiking across America.
The show is told in flashbacks to 1981 and takes place in Ohio. Courtney's younger sister, P.B. dressed ala Punky Brewster, narrates the tale with her walkman in ready use. She tells about her family as they prepare for the wedding. Ryan hides in the house courtesy of Doc, first in the bathroom where he takes a shower and then hides in a closet to avoid being caught while running around in his boxers then a ladies coat. Courtney is not happy to see Ryan there while middle sister, Melanie who is a nurse seems to enjoy flirting with him while swigging a great deal of booze. Almost every family member except P.B. seems to enjoy drinking quite a bit. There are many twists and turns in this show. Is there a wedding, who does Courtney marry and what will happen with all the flowers and shrimp boats? Director Daniel Lee White gives his cast some clever comic bits to play especially the sight gag that opens the show which won much laughter. His talented cast acts up a storm and a crying scene near the end of the show is another laugh out loud moment.
Not wanting to give away too many details, I'll describe the performers and their characters. Rachel Hanauer shines as the much younger P.B. She fills the role of this young girl wonderfully, earning hear many laughs along the way. Veteran performers Sandi Nicastro and Rick Bagley also are topnotch as the high strung mother, Delia and the heavy drinking, Doc. She has a two page monologue that is a comic gem while he has a comic scene with Harper's parents and while wearing fishing gear. Olivia Sahlin is the harried bride who is torn between two grooms to be. Her clever antics with them are funny especially a kissing scene and the heavy drinking scene with her sister, Melanie well played by Genevra Stewart who with Rachel makes her debut performance at the Playhouse. Also making his debut at the Playhouse is Lionel LaFleur who is excellent as the hippie, Ryan. His comic line delivery, facial expression and physical comedy is very well done. Playing the perfect groom to be is Jeff Blanchette. Harper is a psychiatrist who makes an analysis of Ryan which wins many laughs as does their commentary on the food when they first meet. So for a fun filled comedy with topnotch acting, be sure to catch "One Slight Hitch" at the Newport Playhouse. You will enjoy an all you can eat buffet before the show and a fun filled cabaret after it.