Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Fuddy Meers"

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note: entire contents copyright 2002 by Larry Stark

"Fuddy Meers"

by David Lindsay-Abaire
Directed by Michael Tonner

Light & Set Design by John MacKenzie
Producer Michelle Aguillon
Sound Design by Michael Tonner
Costumes Consultant Kate Tonner
Properties by Ronni Marshak, Shannon Allen, Michelle Aguillon
Makeup/Prosthetics by Michelle Aguillon, Nathan Prouty
Stage Manager Shannon Allen

Claire.........Lynn Armstrong
Richard.......Jonathan Kiviat
Kenny.............Josh Isaacs
Limping Man.....Eric Houghton
Gertie..........Ann Carpenter
Millet...........Bob Williams
Heidi........Christine Connor

At the end of act one, Michael Tonner's production of "Fuddy Meers" becomes a play about chaos, with everyone on the intimate Hovey Players' stage moving and speaking at once, and every contradicting assumption about what's going on up for grabs. What seemed a clever mystery becomes a puzzle, and what looked like a dream turns into a nightmare. David Lindsay-Abaire's script takes full advantage of theater's ability to make any outlandish reality true, at least for the moment, and Tonner's cast obviously enjoys the hilarious possibilities in this comedy.

The playwright can play all these games because the point-of-view character wakes up each morning with no memories. Lynn Armstrong plays her with the calm acceptance of Alice in a deam-world, even though she's given two conflicting "realities" about her husband (Jonathan Kiviat), her son (Josh Isaacs), and then about and by a sinister Limping Man with a misshapen ear (Eric Houghton) who kidnaps her --- he says --- for her own protection.

Confused? Good! Confusion is compounded by the fact that The Limping Man speaks with a lisp; that Claire's mother (Ann Carpenter)had a stroke that's garbled her sentences, and that Millet (Bob Williams) is in an incestuous infatuation with his own potty-mouthed hand-puppet. (And if you think this paragraph is odd, wait till you hear the stabbed hand-puppet moan "I can't feel my toes!) [By the way, the incompetent highway patrollman (Christine Connor) is named Heidi... ]

I have deliberately chaoticized this review because that's the flavor of this hilarious romp. I had seen it once, and was still, delightfully, confused. You'll have to go to Waltham to find out who's lying about what and how well this cast siezes every opportunity for fun. And I do not lie when I say all the confusions in this funhouse-mirror of a play will be revealed by the end.
Trust me......


"Fuddy Meers" (20 September - 5 October)
Abbott Memorial Theatre, 9 Spring Street, WALTHAM MA
1(781) 893-9171

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide