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Scarvey review: ‘Six in the City’

BY KATIE SCARVEY (kscarvey@salisburypost.com)
Despite some noisy train whistles and a loud burst of rain on the roof, the opening of “Six in the City” last night went very well.
Directed by Missy Barnes, the plays ó winners of Lee Street Theatre’s first 10-minute play contest ó are being performed through Saturday at The Black Box Theater at the Looking Glass Artist Collective, the perfect intimate venue for plays like this.
The evening kicked off with “In Your Hands,” by Carol Butler, starring Dick Huffman and Sarah Drinkard. Drinkard plays Rachel, a motivational author who has delivered a mere six pages to her editor, who’s expecting a full-length book. He’s unimpressed by Rachel’s “pearls of wit and brevity.” (One entire chapter consists of a quotation from Jimmy Durante: “Why can’t everybody leave everybody else the hell alone?”)
This play was a little more dramatic than planned last night when Dick Huffman’s chair took a dive ó with him in it ó off the back of the stage. Fortunately, Huffman rolled with it. “See how upset you’ve made me?” he ad-libbed.
Ketti Overcash and Bob Paolino had the audience cackling throughout the second play, “But I’m French,” by Terry Roueche ó who has a suspiciously French-sounding last name, despite his Rock Hill address.
Paolino’s character discovers his inner Frenchman when he hears a French girl say the word fromage in front of a cheese counter.
Maybe it’s just me, but hearing Bob Paolino speak with a French accent is comedy in and of itself ó but fortunately, there’s more to the play. Paolino and Overcash are hilarious, especially when she stops questioning his French conversion and allows herself to succumb to his seductive new persona. Un peu on the racy side, this is one of the strongest plays of the bunch.
Also strong is “Almost Made in Heaven,” guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser with virtually any North Carolina audience.
A young couple, wonderfully played by Laurel Reisen and Travis Stewart, are on a first date, confident that it’s beginning of a good relationship ó they already know that they match up well on “twenty-nine levels of emotional compatibility.” And indeed, it seems this couple is perfect for each other. She can name a defensive lineman for the Panthers; he can name a male figure skater other than Brian Boitano.
Then it dawns on them: They’re both basketball fans ó but she’s Duke; he’s Carolina.
Is that a big deal? Well, it is for the one who plans to name her two sons Shane and Christian.
This clever play was written by Elizabeth Burdick, of Durham ó who notes in her bio that the play was endorsed by Coach K himself. Guess we know where her loyalties lie.
The subject matter of “The Caller on Line One” is rather bleak ó what to do about a family member trying to starve himself to death. Actors Sacha Roberts and Dean Proctor did a fine job, but I found myself unsure of what I was supposed to be feeling after the 10 minutes were over.
“Speed Bumps” lightened the mood, with Sharon Doherty playing a woman busily dragging the body of a fez-wearing Shriner out of her bedroom closet and spouting Chuck Norris jokes, much to the consternation of her husband, played by Bob Paolino (minus the French accent). The final play of the evening, “The Stairs,” featured Robert Jones and Kelly Flick. Two strangers sharing an elevator, their conversation runs the gamut from proper elevator etiquette to hyperosmia (extreme sensitivity to smells) to labradoodles. Written by Jennifer Hubbard, it’s quirky and funny.
“Six in the City” continues tonight, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at The Looking Glass Artists Collective, 405 N. Lee Street.
Admission is $10.

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