Monday, July 30, 2007

Entering My Final Days at Pioneer

I will be departing from the Pioneer Playhouse in less than 10 days and I have to tell you, I am relieved. I am quite exhausted and looking forward to a vacation with Amanda. We're going on a cruise to Canada for 5 days. It's a much needed vacation for both of us.

The summer at Pioneer has been a fruitful one from a professional standpoint, with THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS serving as the highlight for me. It was just so damn good! To be quite honest, the powers that be at Pioneer had no confidence in the show and more or less wrote it off. Director Larry Lesher and the incredible cast need to be commended again for their superlative work. In my opinion, it was the best show of the season.

A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES is a complete success. We have not only received sold out houses for the first part of the run, but standing ovations as well.

I have enjoyed working with this company of actors. I see big things for all of them. At 20 years of age, Meg Mark has proven to be one heck of a character actress. Meg will be busy over the next few months, as she will be working with the famed Chamber Theatre (alumni include Larry Lesher and Alex Pappas) soon and I wish her well.

Matthew Harris may have the sharpest wit of anyone I have ever met in the theatre. He's also one heck of an actor. His Truffaldino in SERVANT was a marvel of physical comedy. I wish more people could have seen it.

Synge Maher (who joined the company after SERVANT) owned the stage as Olive in THE ODD COUPLE with her ease, grace and form. It was a pleasure to share the stage (brief as it was) with her.

Overall, I have had fun at the Pioneer Playhouse, but it's time to go home!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Louisville Courier Review of FIREFLIES

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Theater REVIEW
Town's Hollywood moment recalled


By Marty Rosen

In 1956, Hollywood came to Danville, Ky. The late Col. Eben Henson, visionary founder of that city's Pioneer Playhouse, convinced MGM that Central Kentucky would make an excellent location for the epic Civil War film "Raintree County." And it came to pass that a quiet town where young men sported high school letter sweaters, old men sat on their front porches and played checkers and postmen took time out from their appointed rounds to snap beans on hot summer days was invaded by such glittering stars as Elizabeth Taylor, Eva Marie Saint, Montgomery Clift, Lee Marvin and more.

That episode in Kentucky history is the impulse behind Catherine Bush's delicious new comedy, "A Jarful of Fireflies," now playing at Pioneer Playhouse as the centerpiece of Danville's nationally renowned (thanks to a feature playing this month on Turner Classic Movies) Raintree County Festival.

Mixing fantasy and fact, Bush focuses her attention on how that influx of Hollywood crazies affects a tightly knit neighborhood that functions as an extended family.

Curmudgeonly old coots Charlie and Roy (Eben French Mastin and Timothy J. Cox) spend their days fighting over the rules of checkers and debating whether the Civil War was a war of rebellion or a war of Northern aggression. Tom, the town banker, and his wife, Margaret (Sean Cook and Patricia Hammond), are raising their daughters, bubbly teenaged Nell (Danielle Mann) and the innocent, perpetually childlike Patty Cake (Meg Mark) in a safe zone where the biggest neighborhood problem seems to be how to overcome the painful shyness that's keeping the obviously smitten postman Tug (Robert Hess) and frumpy, vulnerable schoolmarm Myra (Kim Darby) from getting together.

Everything changes when busybody Birdie (Synge Maher) starts spreading juicy rumors that Tom and Liz Taylor are a hot item (which induces the worried Margaret to start sipping heavily spiked lemonade); when Charlie and Roy are recruited as uniformed soldiers in battlefield scenes; when Nell's boyfriend Teddy (Matthew Franta) becomes Montgomery Clift's understudy and trades his letter jacket for Hollywood sunglasses and aspirations of stardom; and when Patty Cake sets out to collect fireflies for Eva Marie Saint, who has told her there are no fireflies in Hollywood.

Bush's script slings sap and vinegar in equal measure, deftly leavening sentimental moments with pithy punch lines. Director Robby Henson keeps the action at a fast pace, and the ensemble attacks the material -- both serious and comic -- with rare glee. The comic climax is a brawl that finds most of the men rolling on the floor while Montgomery Clift dashes by in the altogether -- an episode that leads to a series of ironic jokes undermining the image of a "big" Hollywood star.

But meanwhile, a more tender struggle is transpiring: Sad, struggling Myra is gradually blossoming as a woman -- a transition delicately and masterfully portrayed by Darby, whose extensive Hollywood career includes a slew of TV appearances and the memorable part of Maddie Ross in "True Grit."

Prior to the performance, as Charlotte Henson sang folk songs in a limpid soprano, audience members strolled through a nicely curated museum exhibit filled with "Raintree County" photos and memorabilia. By 10:30, as the play ended, the night was filled with the sound of crickets, fireflies were flickering in the Pioneer Playhouse amphitheater, and the stars were coming out.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Reprising Sir Toby Belch in TWELFTH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

The time has finally come for the full blown production of TWELFTH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, by Brian Smallwood. I am happy to announce that I will be reprising my role as Sir Toby Belch from the extreme staged reading a year and a half ago. I am honored to return to the role and thrilled to again be working with the great John Hurley, as well as MEASURE FOR MEASURE co-stars Erin Jerozal, Aaron Michael Zook and Joe Mathers.

Here is the cast list for TWELFTH NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD

Orsino - David Ian Lee
Olivia - Shashanah Newman
Viola - Lindsay Wolf
Olivia's Sister - Reyna de Coucey
Sir Toby Belch - Timothy J. Cox
Sir Andrew Aguecheek - Ben Fine
Maria - Erin Jerozal
Feste - Larry Giantonio
Malvolio - Tom Knutson
Fabian - Aaron Zook
Captain - Neimah Djourachi
Curio - David Berent
Valentine - Joe Mathers
Sebastian - Michael Bottomley
Antonio - Brendan Bradley

Advocate Messenger Review of FIREFLIES

Thursday July 26, 2007

Review: Danville meets Hollywood in “A Jarful of Fireflies

By CHARLIE COX

Danville meets Hollywood in “A Jarful of Fireflies,” Pioneer Playhouse’s latest offering. The play, writen by former Danville resident Catherine Bush and commissioned for the Raintree County Festival, takes us back 51 years to the production of “Raintree County,” when several of Tinseltown’s brightest converged on our small town, creating bucketloads of drama and memories that would become the stuff of local legend. The entertaining play, though by no means perfect, provides a hearty dose of nostalgia and humor, coated with a bit of sentimentality.

Rather than focusing in on the ever-controversial Liz Taylor or apparently always-nude Montgomery Clift, “Fireflies” chronicles the wacky time from the eyes of a handful of kooky local residents, all of whom are affected by the filming in one way or another.

To be entirely truthful, there isn’t a powerfully cohesive narrative that connects the characters; they simply all live on the same Danville street. As such, the most proper way — or only, really — to summarize the plot is in “roll call fashion.”

Here goes: Margaret (Patricia Hammond), the matriarch of the central house, is hysterical, thinking that her husband, Tom (Sean Cook) is having a fling with Taylor. Her youngest daughter, Patty (Meg Mark), becomes fast friends — in her mind, at least — with Eva Marie Saint, while Margaret’s older daughter, Nell (Danielle Mann) worries that her boyfriend, Teddy (Matthew Franta), is becoming “too Hollywood” after landing a job as Clift’s stand-in.

They also have to contend with the general madness cloaking Danville and a budding romance between their neighbor, Myra (Golden Globe-nominated actress Kim Darby) and the mailman, Tug (Robert Hess). Across the street, two crotchety, checkers-playing brothers, Charlie and Roy (Eben French Masten and Timothy J. Cox), who disagree with which side of the Civil War was actually righteous, are cast as extras on the movie and create trouble when they don’t want to dirty up their replica uniform costumes.

Each of the subplots is engaging at differing levels due to a slight imbalance I noticed in the cast. Most actors exude palpable, contagious energy, while some simply don’t. And thus, scenes featuring a mix of the two groups fizzle when they should pop. It’s still fun, no doubt, but unmistakably uneven.

Also, there were an unfortunate number of either forgotten lines or misplaced dramatic pauses. Sadly, I’m fairly certain it was the former.

The best moments of the play, however, are when Hess and Hammond share the stage. Remember when I said palpable energy? These two have it in spades.

Despite minor quibbles, there’s a lot to admire in “Fireflies,” with the direction of Robby Henson utilizing every inch of a simply gorgeous stage. At its very least, “A Jarful of Fireflies” provides a light, fun, fly-on-the-wall look at how “Raintree County” took over Danville back in the day.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Advocate Messenger Article on FIREFLIES

Sunday July 22, 2007

Raintree Festival: Golden Globe-nominated actress heads commissioned play


By CHARLIE COX

"Stars" is the thematic element of the Raintree County Festival's centerpiece - even if its title is "A Jarful of Fireflies."

"It'll be a star acting in a play about stars under the stars," says Pioneer Playhouse Artistic Director Holly Henson of Golden Globe nominee Kim Darby, who is joining the Pioneer Playhouse summerstock troupe for the play.

Darby is best-known for her co-starring role opposite The Duke, John Wayne, in 1969's "True Grit," but has enjoyed a 40-year career in television, earning multiple Emmy nominations and guest spots on shows such as "The X-Files," "The Love Boat" and "Murder, She Wrote."

A Los Angeles native, Darby says her journey to Danville began last year when she acted with "Fireflies" director Robby Henson's wife in a Los Angeles reading at the Mark Taper Forum. She'd been considering relocating to a more relaxed setting and leapt at the chance to visit the bluegrass state.

"When the opportunity came up, I was really happy," says Darby. "Two years ago, I came very close to moving to North Carolina just to relax and take in a different type of lifestyle. I didn't, though, but when the chance to come to the Pioneer Playhouse and be a part of 'A Jarful of Fireflies' came up, I was excited."

"A Jarful of Fireflies" was written by Catherine Bush, whose previous works "I'll Never Be Hungry Again," "Hester Buys a Vowel" and "Nancy Drew: The Musical" were produced in Danville. Just in time for the "Raintree County" festival, the play chronicles the making of the 1957 film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift that was, in part, shot in Danville.

"You see some of the townspeople reacting to that," says Robby Henson. "Some are going a little crazy and some are going a lot crazy in the play.

Nostalgic comedy

"They're characters we recognize and care about. I think it's a poignant snapshot of Danville in the '50s. Things were a little more innocent and into this very small-town, innocent life (came) this huge disruptive force that was Elizabeth Taylor and MGM."

Robby Henson adds "Fireflies" is a nostalgic comedy in the vein of "Mornings at Seven." He notes the play "comes from a true story about a young girl ... who collected fireflies in a jar and gave them to Eva Marie Saint so she could take the Kentucky fireflies to Hollywood."

"Supposedly that happened - supposedly it was a true story," Robby Henson says. "I think it is interesting."

In "Fireflies," she plays the role of Myra Simpson, a character who was easy for her to grasp.

"My character, Myra, is actually not too far removed from myself," says Darby, who adds her character is a schoolteacher and she herself teaches acting and directing at UCLA.

"There were plenty of similarities between her and me. We're both quiet, but not to be underestimated. Everything was really right there in the script, and in me to just reach out and pull the character through."

Another factor in Darby's decision to come to Pioneer Playhouse was the direction of
Henson.

Thrilled to have Kim

"Robby Henson is easily one of the best directors I've worked with," gushes Darby. "Some directors simply yell 'action' and 'cut,' but Robby's there for you to help you through everything."

Holly Henson is very pleased to have a star of Darby's standing work with the playhouse, if only for the one show.

"Pioneer Playhouse, with its every-increasing communication base and professionalism, is obviously thrilled to have Kim for 'A Jarful of Fireflies,'" says Holly Henson.

But really, according to Darby, it's a win-win situation for all parties involved.

"I love Danville. I really do. My favorite part of Danville is just the overall kindness of the people," Darby says of her host town. "I love the fact that there's no honking. In L.A., everywhere you go there are people honking at you. I think they all work in show business. It can make you angry.

"But from the moment I was picked up at the airport, the trip has been a blessing. Everyone's been so polite."

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2007

Farewell to THE ODD COUPLE...Standing O for FIREFLIES Opening!

Last Saturday, we went out on a high note with THE ODD COUPLE as we received a richly deserved standing ovation.

The days leading up to the FIREFLIES opening were busy with painting the set, cue to cue runs and tech rehearsals.

We opened last evening to a full house and received a standing ovation. Not a bad way to start the run.

I'm having a great time playing ROY KNOBB. Hopefully, pictures of my new look for the play will be featured on here soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

ODD COUPLE Enters Final Week...FIREFLIES Moving Along...A Bit Slowly!

THE ODD COUPLE resumed its performances last evening with a modest sized house for a Tuesday night, a little over one hundred people. The "brothers" scene received plenty of laughs, which is always nice. For the remainder of the run, I hope for larger houses. It's been fun playing Jesus. Lord knows I wouldn't get the chance to play this role in NYC, so I thank Larry again for the opportunity to play this role.

FIREFLIES rehearsals continue, although they are moving a bit slowly for my liking. We did take a few days to work Kim Darby into the play, but I think she has her footing now and I expect things to pick up as we inch closer to next Tuesday's opening. Roy Knobb is a easy character for me to play, like putting on an old jacket. It also helps that I have a great actor to work with in Eben French Mastin.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ovations for ODD COUPLE...FIREFLIES is coming along nicely.

We have received back to back standing ovations for our production of THE ODD COUPLE, while rehearsals for A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES are moving along smoothly.

Kim Darby's first rehearsal with the cast will be this evening. I'm looking forward to working with her.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Advocate Messenger Review of THE ODD COUPLE

Thursday July 12, 2007

Review: 'Odd Couple' jokes fast and furious, sometimes understandable

By ROSS JOHNSON

Director Lawrence Lesher was right when he named playwright Neil Simon, author of Pioneer Playhouse's newest offering, as the father of the American sitcom. Simon's "The Odd Couple (Female Version)" is chock-full of flying verbal witticisms, larger-than-life characters, bizarre situations and plenty of laughs.

The scenario is simple enough: Stick neat-freak Florence Unger (Patricia Hammond) in an apartment with slob and sports junkie Olive Madison (Synge Maher), and madness ensues.

But that simple situation is complicated immediately when "The Odd Couple" opens with five women onstage, playing a game of Trivial Pursuit in Olive's apartment. While their banter is funny, it is also fast - leaving some of the jokes to fall flat, simply run over by the steamroller that is Simon's dialogue. Here, the women seemed to be rushing to reach intermission, which oddly enough is only 30 minutes into the two-hour-long play.

But regardless of whether you caught that last joke or not, you'll likely laugh anyway - because like in any sitcom, here, too the audience provides a fairly constant laugh track that compels you to laugh with them, if only because of laughter's contagion. And Simon's dialogue is so full of jokes that you can afford to miss a few.

And of course, in this female version of the play, blame it on a guy to miss the quick retorts and verbal banter of the women around the game board. While some of the jokes were lost on this reviewer's ears, he was assured by his significant other, who understood the banter completely, that this was "simply the way women talk."

Go figure.

Regardless, once Florence and Olive's Trivial Pursuit buddies are gone, we find that sometimes less is more, and that's often the case in "The Odd Couple." Some of the most memorable, gut-busting scenes come when the situation is simplified, boiled down to Florence and Olive alone.

Remarkable rapport

The rapport between actors Hammond and Maher is remarkable. It's not just the ingenious duality of Simon's characters that make Florence and Olive work so well together, but the actors themselves bring a reality to the characters that makes them even funnier.

Maher is excellent as Olive, her greatest asset her natural, believable presence on the stage. Even when the most unbelievable situation unfolds before her, she approaches it with a calm eye and a realistic portrayal.

And Hammond plays the obsessive Florence well - perhaps a little too well, but that won't be held against her, as the grating humor of her character can be ascribed to the role, not her portrayal. Some of her greatest humor comes from her reactions - watching her expressive face proved that sometimes a perturbed visage or a raised eyebrow can be the most humorous reaction of all.

The formula for laughter is changed with the entrance of Manolo (Aaron Rustebakke) and Jesus (Timothy J. Cox), two brothers who live upstairs from our titular duo.

While the accents could use a little tweaking (or maybe they couldn't, since the overwhelming badness of their Spanish accents merely adds to the fun), the humor isn't lost with these two suave, debonair, over-eager, manic, sex-crazed, completely goofy Spanish brothers who make their appearance not a moment too late in the second act. It's hard not to laugh at their genial, wide-smiling faces - and of course, Simon plys the cultural waters, proving horribly stereotypical cultural misunderstandings are a veritable fount of humor.

Near the end of the play, Maher's character declares, "Florence, this is going to be a great year for women." And for the women of "The Odd Couple," this show is a welcome reversal from a usually male-dominated theater scene, where a majority of roles are written for men.

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2007

ODD COUPLE Opening A Success...Cast in A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES

THE ODD COUPLE is up and running and it's quite successful so far. The houses have been a bit small, but attendance for this evening's performance is already much higher, so it should continue to pick up throughout the course of the run. Critic Ross Johnson of the Advocate Messenger was in the audience for last nights' performance, so expect a review to be posted in a few days.

The good news continues. For my last appearance on the Pioneer stage this season, I will be playing the role of ROY KNOBBB, a 70 year old checkers playing codger, in the origial play A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES by Catherine Bush and directed by Robby Henson (director of BABE). The play is a special treat for me since I share all of my scenes with the prodigiously talented (and incrediblu funny) Eben French Mastin, who plays my brother CHARLIE. Today was our first day of rehearsal and Eben and I are already finding our characters. On a personal level, I have found that I may be the world's worst checkers player. All you have to do is ask Eben and Matt Harris, who will be playing RAY RAY, a quiet dogcatcher and witness to all of ROY and CHARLIE'S antics.

Here's the big news regarding the show...actress Kim Darby (True Grit, Better Off Dead)will be gracing Danville with her presence in a pivotal role in the production. She is a friend and colleague of Robby's and will be a welcome addition to the cast. Please visit http://www.kimdarby.com/ for more info on Ms. Darby's work.

FIREFLIES is going to take a lot of work...onstage and off. We have huge sets to build and not much time to build them. but I feel that this group is more than up to the challenge.

Larry Lesher left today to return to NYC. The place is going to be boring without him, but after directing two shows and 4 one acts...the man needs some rest.

More to report later.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Advocate Messenger Article on THE ODD COUPLE

Tuesday July 10, 2007

Odd version of 'The Odd Couple' funny, with a heart

By ROSS JOHNSON

Audiences will be sure to remember the premise of "The Odd Couple," says director Lawrence Lesher: it's the story of "a mismatched couple of friends - one type A, a neat freak, the other a terrible slob." Put the two together, and "wackiness ensues," Lesher says.

But something will make this version of Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple," the newest offering of the season at Pioneer Playhouse, a little different. Rather than telling the familiar story of Felix and Oscar, audiences this time around will be entertained by the story of another incompatible duo, Florence and Olive.

The playhouse will put on the female version of Simon's classic story. "It's the same play in many ways," says Lesher. "Neil Simon just reversed the gender."

While the idea remains the same, Lesher says, the female version adds many of Simon's typical one-liners and jokes that will hold more appeal with a female audience.

"In the beginning, rather than a bunch of guys sitting around and playing poker, there's a group of women, socializing, playing Trivial Pursuit," Lesher says.

"The father of the modern sitcom"

Simon sat down and wrote the female version of the play 10 years after the finale of his wildly successful "The Odd Couple" television series. And Lesher says this version contains the same "great dialogue" that is a trademark of Simon's comedy.

"Neil Simon is really the father of the modern sitcom," says Lesher. "He's really accessible."

As both a director and actor in the five-show run at the Pioneer Playhouse's 10-week season, Lesher praised the experience and the artistic freedom that the season provides.

"I'm exhausted. But I love it because I get a chance to really just do theater. To live and breathe theater," says Lesher, who lives in New York City. "Working here is like going through war. We become a group of people who get really close, who learn each other's foibles."

And that intimacy - which can often be found in many aspects of the Pioneer Playhouse, from the closeness of the open-air theater to artistic director Holly Henson's personal introductions of each show - also has a benefit for the audience.

"Seeing the same actors in different plays can be a real pleasure for the audience," Lesher says. "They get to see the actors transform themselves."

Lesher beckons audiences to come see the show with a guarantee.

"They will all recognize people they know, or themselves, in these characters. I've never seen a Neil Simon show that people don't like," says Lesher. "This is the kind of show that's extremely funny, but that also has a heart."

ODD COUPLE Opens Tonight

THE ODD COUPLE is ready to open...and I know it is going to be a successful production. Looking forward to putting it front of an audience.

A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES auditions are tomorrow morning. We'll see what happens there.

Friday, July 06, 2007

SERVANT to Close Saturday...ODD COUPLE to Open Tuesday

SERVANT has had a wonderful run at the Playhouse. I have not been surprised by the shows' success. It's a solid production with flawless performances across the board. Larry also needs to be commended for his work on the production.

THE ODD COUPLE continues to be fun. Aaron and I did a make up test for the Costazuela brothers today and I have to say, we look quite ridiculous. We have been running the show quite a bit, which has been helpful, I'm sure, to everyone in the cast.

Auditions for A JARFUL OF FIREFLIES are next Wednesday. I have read the play a few times and it is rather cute in spots...certainly a love letter to Danville and its people more than anything else.

We'll see what happens with that.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

SERVANT Enters Last Week...ODD COUPLE Loads of Fun...One Acts A Success!

SERVANT begins its last week of performances tonight. This past Saturday night, we played to a full house, including my g/f Amanda, who visited for the weekend. She was not only treated to SERVANT, but to the one act festival as well, which was a lot of fun. Thanks again to Larry for putting it all together.

Here is the cast list for THE ODD COUPLE

Olive Madision......Synge Maher
Florence Unger......Patricia Hammond
Mickey..............Jennifer Gegan
Vera................Meg Mark
Renee...............Sara Maas
Sylvie..............Zanna Fredland
Manolo Costazuela...Aaron Rustebakke
Jesus Costazuela....Timothy J. Cox

Rehearsals are off to a very strong start. The play is completely blocked, so now we are working on making the play as funny as possible. Aaron and I are already having fun as the Costazuela brothers.

The play opens on the 10th. I'm really looking forward to it. Larry will be returning to NYC after the show opens. The place is going to be pretty boring without him around.

The Advocate Messenger Review of SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS

Here is the full "rave review" for SERVANT.

Thursday June 28, 2007

Self-aware humor and lively cast 'master' a difficult play

By CHARLIE COX

There's a moment late in "The Servant of Two Masters" when two characters, Truffaldino (Matthew Harris) and Pantalone (Robert Hess), out of confusion sigh and collapse onto a bench, exasperated.

And we certainly sympathize with them.

The plot of "The Servant of Two Masters," a 350-year-old Italian commedia dell'arte written by Carlo Goldoni and modernized by Tom Cone, is pretty impossible to follow, what with the numerous disguises, deceptions and dualities. But that's part of this production's charm. It knows the story is painfully convoluted and embraces it, sending various winks to the audience along the way as if to say, "Yeah, we're right there with you."

Cone's adaptation moves the action from Venice to a Venice Beach hotel, where servant Truffaldino attempts to work for two masters to satisfy his ever-grumbling hunger. The trick to this, however, is to perform his duties without one master knowing he's working for another. Complicating things further is one of his masters is Beatrice (Zanna Fredland), who is disguised as her dead brother. She is trying to find her lover, Florindo (Aaron Rustebakke) - Truffaldino's other master.

Remember when I said convoluted? Well, it gets even worse when you factor in two other equally complicated romances between Truffaldino and another servant, Smeraldina (Patricia Hammond), and the dim-witted, family-challenged Silvio (Matthew Franta) and Clarice (Meg Mark).

To help sift through the sea of character relationships, the production adds not only a hilarious (and helpful) introduction to the play using cue cards, but also a character named Our Lady Exposition (Katherine Franta), who frequently floats about the stage offering explanations like a Good Fairy of sorts.

The cast is nothing short of exceptional, and - dare I say? - the best I've seen at any Pioneer Playhouse production. Honestly, there isn't a weak link among them, and each has a unique gift to bring to the table. Harris, being at the center of the play, strikes me as the product of Chris Farley and a St. Bernard pup - which I mean in the best way possible. He's simultaneously outlandish and charming, while Hess has the ability to recite nonsensical lines at a rapid-fire pace, and Hammond continues to remind me of Lucille Ball.

Even if you may not be able to completely follow the action, the superb cast and amazingly-designed set are reason enough to check out this wild, if slightly incoherent, farce.

Servant of Two Masters

8:30 p.m. through July 7 except Sunday and Monday

Pioneer Playhouse, Stanford Road

Dinner served at 7:30 p.m.

Adult cost: $27/dinner and theater, $15/theater only

Children 12 and under: $14/dinner and theater, $8/theater only

Reservations: (859) 236-2747 or (866) 597-5297

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2007