Lee Stein & Corey Music. Photo: The Bard’s Town
Laundry & Bourbon/Lone Star
By James McLure
Directed by Sabrina Spalding
Review by Jason Cooper
Entire contents are copyright © 2019 by Jason Cooper. All rights reserved.
Comedy is hard, and painful to sit through when not executed well. The same goes double for onstage southern accents. Fortunately, The Bard’s Town’s perfectly acted production of James McLure’s one-act plays Laundry & Bourbon, and Lone Star pulls off both expertly, providing a night of excellent performances and deep belly laughs.
Though technically two one-act plays, the two shows are connected and fit together perfectly. In fact, I would not have known it was not a two-act play if I had not been told. Focusing on characters in a small Texas town in a post-Vietnam America, the first half of the evening belongs to the women. In Laundry & Bourbon, we meet Elizabeth (Tessa McShane) who is suffering from a broken air conditioner and a husband named Roy who hasn’t been home for a few days. Popping by for a bourbon and a chat is her friend Hattie (Megan Adair) a put-upon housewife with three beastly children. Into the mix comes their frenemy Amy Lee (Amy Davis) and as the bourbon pours the sparks fly. McShane and Davis both craft wholly believable characters, hitting all the right comic notes while never lapsing into caricature. Adair takes to the stage with the force of a hurricane. Every word she utters as the fiery Hattie is comedy gold.
In act two we meet the elusive, womanizing Roy (Corey Music) and his somewhat simple brother Ray (Lee Stein). Ray is back from Vietnam and obviously traumatized by his experiences there. The boozy brothers bonding is interrupted by the appearance of Cletis (Tony Smith) who has a secret he is reluctant to share. Stein and Smith both deliver wonderful performances but it is Music who carries the piece with his magnetic, powerful presence.
In both pieces, it would be very easy for actors to go over the top. Director Sabrina Spalding does an excellent job of painting with small strokes, avoiding the broader, clichéd version of southerners we’re often presented with. What she has created is a fly on the wall POV into the lives of this disparate people.
There is a great deal of local theatre going on right now in Louisville. Do not let this little known gem get lost in the shuffle of the bigger splashier shows. It would be a big mistake to miss out on this highly entertaining production.
Featuring Megan Adair, Amy Davis, Tessa McShane Corey Music, Tony Smith, and Lee Stein.
Laundry & Bourbon / Lone Star
May 9, 10, 11, 12, 15*, 16, 17, & 18 @ 7:30 pm
Advanced tickets $18; Tickets at the door $20 cash, $22 credit.
*Special $5 “industry night” discount
The Bard’s Town
1801 Bardstown Road
Louisville, KY 40205
Jason Cooper has worked in professional, regional, and community theatre for over twenty years. After receiving his BFA in theatre performance he spent three seasons with the award-winning Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. After working in theatres all over the country for a time, Jason settled in Chicago and worked with The Chicago Dramatists, Apple Tree Theatre, and Red Moon Theatre before returning home to Louisville to become a high school English teacher. Locally, Jason has worked extensively as an actor and director primarily for Pandora Productions, CenterStage, The Bard’s Town, Derby Dinner Playhouse, and Stage One.