Tom Pettey, Debbie Smith, & Bob Klein in Jack of Diamonds. Photo: Little Colonel
Jack of Diamonds
Written by Marcia Kash and Douglas E. Hughes
Directed by Sharon Spurrier
A review by Kate Barry
Entire contents are copyright © 2022 by Kate Barry. All rights reserved.
When you think of a retirement community, certain things might come to mind. Your grandparents knit or play cards as the days slowly pass by. Indeed, these are gross underestimations of what retirement communities are like these days. Little Colonel Playhouse offers some laughs and light-hearted fun with the comedy Jack of Diamonds. Crimes, capers, and seemingly catatonic crooks run amuck among a group of friends as they plan ways to remain at their newfound home.
With a script that channels a sitcom in its dialogue and plot lines, the show takes common retirement home tropes and relishes each one. Remote controls are comically large, characters reduce new and progressive ideas to “socialism” and “communism”, and the script makes harmless jokes about the inedible nature of food in retirement homes while involving the trope in the play’s conflict. The cast has notable fun within moments of broad humor. Howard Whitman does well to make large moments with his brief lines as Wilf, a resident who is hard of hearing. Nearly all of his responses are monosyllabic and are well-timed.
These comedic bits do not require deep thinking or analysis. Bob Klein’s criminal in hiding, Barney Effward, indulges in his no-good mentality. Klein bounces between hyperactively planning his next move and staying perfectly with ease. Debbie Smith’s Nurse Harper finds herself in a cat and mouse chase with Effward. Perhaps this character is a statement of the unfair treatment of employees and those who live in such places, or perhaps this is a character who just needs a day off. Regardless, Smith brings the right amount of exasperation to a frustrated health care employee. Tom Pettey provides the rebellious leader of the group of friends, Jack. Pettey plays well against Klein’s Effward as they find themselves in a laxative-riddled search to find diamonds in a toilet.
At the Friday night performance, two actors were replaced days before the opening night. Sharon Cardwell and Kate Bariteau stepped into the roles of Flora and Blanche respectively. Each showed great instincts, whether it was Flora’s forgetfulness or Blanche’s overwhelming narcolepsy. Jeni De Lancey’s Rose is quick-witted and armed with her Ipad. The brains behind the group, De Lancey shows that when it comes to technology, age ain’t nothing but a number.
If you want a play with laughs and heart, Little Colonel Playhouse has the show just for you. Jack of Diamonds shows that you are never too old to stop a crook as long as your friends are by your side. And at the Transitions Retirement Villa, there is never a dull moment.
Cast: Tom Pettey, Jeni De Lancey, Debbie Smith, Bob Klein, Dan Remaks, Sharon Cardwell, Kate Bariteau, Sharon Horton Becher, Emily Miller
Jack Of Diamonds
April 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 @ 7:30 pm
April 3, 10 @ 2:00 pm
Little Colonel Playhouse
302 Mt Mercy Drive
Pewee Valley, KY 40056
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!