Fuddy Meers is a difficult play to categorize. Billed as a comedy, it does have a lot of (increasingly dark) humor. But the gradual revelations of cruelty and abuse make it more dramatic than you might expect.
The first play by David Lindsay-Abaire (who would go on to be known for Rabbit Hole), it tells the oddball story of Claire, a psychogenic amnesiac who wakes up each morning with no memory of her previous life. Her doting husband spends each morning telling her who she is and reintroduces her to himself and their son. On the day in which the play is set, everything goes to Hell when a masked, limping man kidnaps her and takes her on an odyssey of increasingly bizarre characters and situations.
The Louisville Repertory Production has turned out another fine production in bringing this odd but wonderful play to the Mex. Strong performances abound, especially Diane Stretz-Thurmond’s lovably bewildered Claire, a woman determined to keep her sanity during the chaos escalating around her. Sean Childress is hysterically funny as The Limping Man, her scarred, half-blind, half-deaf, lisping kidnapper.
Ann Myers is completely believable as Claire’s mother, whose stroke-induced speech impediment provides the play’s title. And I don’t think any actor in the Louisville area can play crazy like Darren McGee, delightfully stealing scenes as The Limping Man’s sidekick Millet, a damaged and very high-strung individual who copes with life through a foul-mouthed sock puppet.
Less showy roles are also given heartfelt performances by Drew Cash as Claire’s son Kenny; Brent Gettelfinger as her husband Richard; and Susan Crocker as Heidi, a traffic cop.
One of these days my own theater company is going to have to steal away LRC’s set designers, as they once again have done an incredible job of showing what amazing sets can be designed in the Mex. In this case, the show’s director, Amy Lewis Zeigler, has created an elaborate landscape covering a bedroom and kitchen in two separate homes, a cluttered basement and even a car ride.
If you like comedic dramas and are looking for something a little different, this show should be right up your alley. Good acting, solid directing and an offbeat story combine to make a truly fun evening of theater.
Featuring Drew Cash, Sean Childress, Susan Crocker, Brent Gettelfinger, Darren McGee, Ann Meyer, and Diane Stretz-Thurmond.
March 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, and 10 at 8:00 p.m March 11 at 2:00 p.m
Tim & Dair Mathistad
Katie & Chris Haulter
Kathy Todd Chaney
Angie Reed Garner