Play On! Or Murder Most Funny!

Play On!, the hilarious comedy by Rick Abbott (a pseudonym for the late playwright, Jack Sharkey), opened on the Chapel Street Players’ stage Friday night (Feb 11th). Play On! is the hysterical story of a theater group trying desperately to put on a play (Murder Most Foul-no, not that one) despite production problems and constant, maddening interference from a novice playwright who keeps re-writing the script. This production, directed most capably by Jeff Robleto, stars Melody Bock, Kerry Slinkard, Meg Barton, Shawn Kline, Nathaniel Rambo, Amelia Moss, Jessica Lorin Tanner, Gabrielle Rambo, Caitlin Custer, and Katie Brady.

20220208-G91A0546Play On!, the hilarious comedy by Rick Abbott (a pseudonym for the late playwright, Jack Sharkey), opened on the Chapel Street Players’ stage Friday night (Feb 11th). Play On! is the hysterical story of a theater group trying desperately to put on a play (Murder Most Foul-no, not that one) despite production problems and constant, maddening interference from a novice playwright who keeps re-writing the script. This production, directed most capably by Jeff Robleto, stars Melody Bock, Kerry Slinkard, Meg Barton, Shawn Kline, Nathaniel Rambo, Amelia Moss, Jessica Lorin Tanner, Gabrielle Rambo, Caitlin Custer, and Katie Brady.

20220208-G91A0478There have been a number of plays that poke fun at amateur theater groups. Noises Off, which concentrates on the development and blossoming of interpersonal relationships between the actors while the group’s incompetence unreels onstage is one such play. Play On! depends entirely on incompetence. There is little mention of the relationship between the “actors” when not on stage presenting the mock mystery, Murder Most Foul. What mention there is may be dismissed as inconsequential. The humor in this script is based on missed cues, misunderstanding of lines, and words in the script.

Play On! is arguably one of the funniest plays you will see onstage this year. I have literally never attended a play where my sides hurt from laughing so hard. Even now, as I write this review and think back on the onstage antics of the actors, I am chuckling. Robleto masterfully directed a most capable cast who delivered realistic performances as the beleaguered cast of Murder Most Foul-no, not that one).

20220208-G91A0536Melody Bock and Kerry Slinkard were delightful as Polly and Henry Benish playing Lady Margaret and Lord Dudley. Meg Barton’s comedic timing is superb as Violet Imbry playing Diana Lassiter. Shawn Kline, a newcomer to the CSP stage delivers an entertaining performance as Saul Watson playing Dr. rex Forbes. Nathaniel Rambo, another newcomer, gets huge laughs with his physical comedy and superb comedic timing as Billy Carewe, AKA, Stephen Sellers. Amelia Moss delivers a wonderful performance as “Smitty” and Doris the Maid. Jessica Lorin Tanner was hilarious as Phyllis Montague. Gabrielle Rambo as Director Gerry Dunbar, Caitlin Custer as Stage Manager Aggie Manville, and Katie Brady as Light and Sound Operator, Louise Perry all delivered immensely funny performances on and off stage.

Successful stage productions owe their success to talented behind the scenes team members as much as to the actors onstage and so it is with this production’s lighting, sound, and set design.

Play On! runs through February 19th. This show is a must see! Reserve your tickets today by calling the theater box office at (302) 368-2248 or by visiting https://chapelstreetplayers.org/.

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