The cast of Squirrel Lake. Photo courtesy The Alley Theater.
By Brian Mitchell
Directed by J.P. Lebangood
Review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2016 Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
Resentment, emotional baggage and a lifetime’s worth of grudges make for wonderful trips home while visiting the family, right? If you answered yes then check out Squirrel Lake at The Alley Theater. This comedy spins in every zany direction as one family attempts to conjure the dead, wrangle rambunctious children, and overcome pregnancy scares in the midst of reuniting over the death of a matriarch.
Marc McHone, Spencer Korcz, and Ashleigh Skaggs play Phillip, Patrick, and Sally Olson, respectively. Like any family, these three could not be any different. As Phillip, McHone earns his laughs as the control hungry lawyer looking to break free from his corrupt law firm and perhaps even his family as well. McHone plays well against Korcz’s free spirited Patrick as they scheme to get the estate that’s rightfully theirs and may even spread a rumor or two. Ashleigh Skaggs rounds out the trio as Sally, the overworked, undersexed mother of a tribe of ruthless children. Where McHone and Korcz serve up a nearly vaudevillian delivery with bits about Sally’s children, Skaggs brings even and subtle humor as she appears with mysterious rashes and accidentally tricks innocent bystanders into believing they are pregnant.
The play is littered with an assortment of comedy, which the supporting cast delivers with great energy. Curt Himmelberger nicely handles the physical humor as Sally’s husband, Bob. Himmelberger’s falls, concussions, and spills build with great momentum throughout the play, but he maintains a straight face throughout, which makes these moments funnier. Andrew Hoehler has some fun as the macho, next-door neighbor-detective, Lance. Hoehler delivers contrasts as he trounces around the stage with great force, and then reveals his softer side, as he appears in the loveliest of frocks in the second act. Taylor Brengle as the naive nun, Sister Mary, and Grace Roth as the lovesick wannabe clairvoyant, Joy, bring well-deserved laughs to this “nutty” cabin by the lake.
So if you need to escape from whatever family drama you may be part of, Squirrel Lake at The Alley Theater will make you realize those problems aren’t so bad.
March 24-April 15, 2016
The Alley Theater
633 West Main Street
Louisville, KY 40202
Kate Barry earned her Bachelors in English with a Theater minor from Bellarmine University in 2008. She has worked with many different companies around town including Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Bunbury Theater, Louisville Repertory Company, Walden Theater, Finnigan Productions and you have probably purchased tickets from her at that little performing arts center on Main Street as well. In 2012, her short play “PlayList” won festival favorite in the Finnigan Festival of Funky Fresh Fun. She has written for Leo Weekly and TheatreLouisville.com as well. Thanks for reading!