“37 Postcards” a Treat and a Laugh from Jewel Box
When tragedy happens wouldn’t it be wonderful to hide away pretending it didn’t happen? Of course, we all know that’s impossible, it simply wouldn’t work. But…what if it did work? No, impossible! Or, maybe just impossibly funny. Playwright Michael McKeever certainly makes it work in”37 Postcards” one of his most popular comedies. Director Don Taylor assuredly brings to this production of “37 Postcards” intelligent casting and comic sensibility. When the cast has timing, they have a hit.
Taylor’s chosen assemble creates a space allowing us to believe for just a few hours, that it is possible to make the world go away. All that is left is the laughter and love of a family that is eccentric beyond comprehension. And that’s what Avery Sutton finds when he returns to his lovely but slightly skewed home in an upscale neighborhood of Darien, Connecticut. Incomprehensibly funny, and suddenly, we are slipping through the Sutton fun house giggling with the family.
Avery, after touring Europe for nearly a decade, has returned with his lady love, Gillian. Gillian is well aware that is just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor fellow, so she fell in love with Avery. Surely the Sutton family isn’t so eccentric that she can’t cope!
Dakota Lee Bryant is Avery Sutton. His performance is a little too frenetic initially; giving him less opportunities to advance the humor, but his timing is fine-tuned and doubles the hilarity. Christine Jolly is the lovely not yet matronly lady of the house, Evelyn Sutton. Her natural delivery and normal façade lulls us into believing she may be the sane one in the family…at first. She ultimately reveals her disintegration with grace and wit that surprises and endears as well as amuses. Carol McDonald is the wonderfully loving amateur chef and favorite Aunt Ester. Her common sense has always been a cornerstone for Avery and she reveals the quirkiness of any woman of an uncertain age with perfect aplomb. Doug Monson is Stanford P. Sutton. Distinguished, wise and charming in all circumstances, he will never be rattled in the least. Even if his house should fall into a pit he would not forget to be a gracious gentleman. Allyson Rose is Gillian, beautiful but with a hard edge that might be softened with enough charge cards and jewelry. Jackie Smola is quite funny as Nana, who has earned the right to irascibility. She’s a real character and her cantankerousness holds the seeds of the Sutton family strength and humor. They are as delighted as we are in realizing that she is merely deaf, not dead.
Avery and the family learn that they can love together and they can stay together, but they must laugh together because every single one of them sees life through the portal of laughter rather than the vale of tears. Perhaps a comic angle rather than a tragic tangle. Patrons who take the few hours to immerse themselves in this wonderful comic release will find that as the Sutton house settles into earth they shall be sent into paroxysms of mirth.
Don Taylor’s direction is the glue that makes these characters so funny and Richard Howell’s set design is the build with the zany tilt and tumble. The entire crew brings “37 Postcards” into the hit category backing up this talented cast including one adorable if drastically devilish puppy called Skippy!
Information and Tickets can be obtained by visiting www.jewelboxtheatre.org or call 405-521-1786. Evening performances have an 8:00 curtain through February 12, 2017 and the Jewel Box is located at 3700 N. Walker at the First Christian Church annex. In the 59th season of excellent community theatre for OKC audiences clearly they will be around for quite some time to come.