Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A WHOLE LOTTA CHEATIN GOIN ON"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

note: entire contents copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The current show at the Newport Playhouse is the naughty, bawdy Country Western comedy, "A Whole Lotta Cheatin Goin On" by Del Shores. This award winning comedy is set in the west Texas watering hole of Lowake as well as at a motel room and a beauty salon. The phenomenal unit set was designed and painted expertly by Tonya Killavey and built by Fred Davison. Gossip, the town's major pastime, ignites a blaze of infidelity that engulfs three couples with the zany precision of a French farce. The narrator/storyteller/singer, Sid who owns Bluebells, weaves this tale about his overweight cousin, Maybelline, the waitress who wants to be in love. It also concerns Bo Bob, the dimwitted mail man, Clarence, the local stud and mechanic who's been messing with Ovella, the town bitch, since high school, Sara Lee Turnover, the beautician is his faithful girl and Teddy Joe is Ovella's husband who is more brawn than brain. Director Daniel Lee White picks 7 topnotch performers for these roles and keeps the action in constant motion with enough hijinks and shtick to keep the audience laughing merrily while stage manager, Olivia Sahlin handles the technical end of the show running smoothly.

Richard Johnson plays Sid, the narrator who speaks directly to the audience about the goings on in town. He also plays guitar and sings a couple of songs, too. Richard's funniest line is "Is a pig's ass, pork?" Near the end of the show as he speaks once again to the audience, they force him to provide them with a happy ending. One of the biggest scene stealers in this wacky show is Sarah Pierce as the overweight waitress, Maybelline. She wears a fat suit for this role because in real life she is a statuesque blonde. Sarah has many one liners and caustic comments to make. Maybelline is constantly late and likes to eat fried cherry pastry. Her funniest moment occurs when she dreams she is having sex with Clarence in the motel room with the lines and her physical humor. Maybelline is transformed with heavy make up to try to get a man. Sarah is an expert comedienne who uses physical humor to spice up the role. I last reviewed her in a dramatic role of Miep in "Diary of Anne Frank" at Ocean State Theatre. Mario Sasso is a hoot as the dumbbell, Bo Bob. He is the town mail man and everyone keeps knocking over the mail that he is trying to sort out and deliver. Bo Bob is mistreated by the others but finally becomes the mouse who roared when he tells Clarence off. His winning portrayal will have you rooting for him to win the girl of his dreams.

Katherine Coolidge does a wonderful job as Sara Lee Turnover, the town's beautician, who changes the lives of the two women in the show. One for the better and the other for the worse as the result of bitchy and mean spirited behavior. One of her best moments comes when Sara Lee finds out Clarence has been cheating on her and beats the crap out of him. She is tempted to stray with a studly man because of her cheating lover, but ends up faithful to him. Michael Gregory plays her mechanic pig of a boyfriend who loves to swill beer, bully Bo Bob, have an affair with Ovella and finally has the crap beaten out of him by Ovella's husband, Teddy Joe and Sara Lee. Michael is an expert with his dialogue, winning him many laughs along the way. Allison A. Anthony is terrific as Ovella, the town bitch who is a bedhopping and fast talking town tramp. She watches General Hospital and is always quoting what Luke and Laura did that day. Allison's argument scenes crackle with intensity and her singing two songs of woe in the second act when Sara Lee takes revenge on her, are some of her funniest moments. Greg Silver is also funny as the muscle bound husband of Ovella who treats him like dirt. He strips down to his boxers to have revenge sex with Sara Lee who feels his muscles in the motel room. Greg also hurls insults at the others, beats up Clarence, ridicules Bo Bob and runs roughshod over the others in town. He does a great job as this redneck moron. Before the show, you will enjoy an all you can eat buffet and afterwards you'll enjoy a fun filled cabaret. So for an entertaining evening of slapstick comedy, be sure to catch "A Whole Lotta Cheatin Goin On" as you witness a little bit of Texas in little ole Newport, RI.

Newport Playhouse, 102 Connell Highway, Newport, RI
1(401)848-7529 or

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide