This year Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre decided to open its 2010 season with an odd comedy. It takes place in a lodge in Georgia where a British man, Charlie, is staying. The lodge's owner, Betty, and its other guests believe that Charlie can't speak any English. Hilarity ensues when they all share their secrets in front of him.
The show is undeniably packed with laughs, but it breaks from the normal vein of comedies because there is a darker undercurrent that runs throughout the entire play. The plot deals with issues of racism and prejudice rooted in ignorance. Also with exploiting a mentally challenged man. At one point a furious group of Ku Klux Klan members show up at the lodge and threaten the lives of the guests.
That being said, the show is also one of the funniest to hit the Beef & Board's stage. Jeff Stockberger plays the "boring" Charlie to perfection. He tones down his usual antics to play this depressed Brit and it works well. As Charlie begins to come out of his shell the slapstick humor is ramped up as well.
Other cast stand outs are Betty, played by Kate Braun and Ty Stover as Charlie's best friend Froggy LeSueur. Betty's sweet-natured sincerity oozes off the stage and the audience can't help but love her; even as she yells comments at Charlie in an effort to get him to understand English. At times Froggy provides a spot-on straight man to the lodge of misfits. He also slides in quiet jokes whenever he's on stage.
The play makes some interesting points about judging people too quickly. It's also a harrowing look at the terror certain people are willing to inflict upon others. It's a comedy, but the meat of the show is no laughing matter.
Don't Miss the Show
Performances: The show runs until Feb. 7. Doors open for evening performances at 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. The buffet is served from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and the show begins at 8 p.m. For Wednesday matinees doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the buffet is served from 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The show begins at 1 p.m. For Sunday matinees doors open at 12 p.m. and the buffet is served from 12:15 to 1 p.m. The show begins at 1:30 p.m.
Tickets: To purchase tickets call (317) 872-9664 between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Prices range from $35 to $58 and include the show, tax, coffee, tea and the buffet.
Photos Courtesy of Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre