Theatre Mirror Reviews - "3 Original One-acts by John Shanahan"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2007 by Tony Annicone

"3 Original One-Acts by John Shanahan"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Mansfield Music and Arts Society's current production is 3 Original One Acts by Quincy, MA based playwright, John Shanahan. He started writing plays in 2002. This presentation consists of two short scenes and a one act play. The first one is "The Worst Possible Time for Writer's Block" directed by Rachel Fisher-Parkman which is about Peter who is dying and wants to write one more poem. But the clock is ticking and it doesn't help that a Minion of Death is in the corner, being a smart ass. Will Peter find one last poem? Can his sister bargain with death for more time? The next two are directed by Ken Butler. The second one, "Brushstroke" is about an artist, who has a brilliant painting that has been one brushstroke from completion for the last three weeks. What's keeping her from finishing it? Her friend is determined to help her. The final play is "Bob's Date". Bob is going on his first date in two years and his mental attributes are assembled including Nerves, Logic, Libido and Bull. They await the arrival of Confidence but when a love-at-first sight moment awakens Emotion, she and Memory threaten to throw the night into chaos. John has written well crafted scripts. The comic moments in "Writer's Block" and "Bob's Date" elicit much laughter from the audience while "Brushstroke" is a wonderful dramatic piece that delivers the heartfelt ending to an appreciative audience. Rachel and Ken do an excellent job directing these pieces and their talented performers deliver the goods in a thoroughly entertaining evening of original works.

The talented performers in "Writer's Block" are Jim Martin as Peter, Jon Warriner as the Minion of Death and Jennifer Mischley as Peter's sister. Jon has some of the best one liners and makes each of them count. Jim and Jen have some funny moments, too in a show about death which you think is going to be serious but is a hoot especially the surprise ending. Alice Springer is Anna, the artist in "Brushstroke". She delivers the goods with an impassioned plea to her friend, Kelly Warriner, on how to finish her painting and if she feels if it is her best work? If so where can she go as an artist after producing such a painting. It is the earnest delivery at the end of the show by Alice that makes you empathize with her dilemma and tug at your heartstrings while doing so. The last show, "Bob's Date" is a laugh riot with all his mental attributes fighting to control how his date will be. 10 year old Mickey White is a hoot as Confidence. He bosses the others around and threatens them with his wonderful delivery of the lines. Kevin Mischley as Bull and Jay Silvi as Libidio have some deliciously funny and naughty lines which they deliver perfectly. Jim Martin is hilarious as Nerves who does some topnotch pratfalls as he flails around the stage nervously. He even sticks his head in a filing cabinet at one point which elicits many laughs. Bob Emery is properly authoritative as Logic who wants to control everyone else while Rachel Fisher-Parkman is demure as Emotions who needs to step up and control the date. Kelly Warriner plays the bitchy, Memory who bosses and bullies everyone around by telling them of their past failures. So for a fun filled night of comedy with a little drama thrown in the mix, be sure to catch John Shanahan's clever and witty plays at the Black Box theatre at MMAS. Tell them Tony sent you.

"3 Original Works by John Shanahan" (16 - 24 February)
MANSFIELD MUSIC & ART SOCIETY
30 Crocker Street, MANSFIELD MA
1 (508) 339-2822

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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