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Cementville

To add to the confusion, the highlight of the perf reviewed was the refusal of a prop gun to fire at the climax of the play, which led to unintentional hilarity as the cast struggled to ad-lib their way through to the end. Unfortunately, this incident only added to the TV-sketch tone of the evening.

With:
Dwayne Pardee ... Thom Cagle Tiger ... Lori Thimsen Nola ... Amy Scholl Dani ... Carrie Dobro Netty ... Wendy Worthington Lessa ... Juliette Jeffers Bigman ... Jay Lacopo Mother Crocker ... Marilyn Pitzer Dottie ... Angela Eads Dolly ... Miki Mootsey Miss Harmon ... Gina Novish One-Eyed Deneauve ... Gary Richmond Kid ... Manny Kleinmuntz Eddie ... Robert DiTillio Jane Martin's farce about a touring troupe of low-class women wrestlers may have some appeal as a slice of the American underbelly, but this production, with uneven acting and directing, misses the mark. The lady wrestlers, under the aegis of promoter Bigman (Jay Lacopo), arrive in Cementville, Tenn., for a one-night stand in a stadium that once housed world-class prizefighters and now features a locker room with rats in the shower and used condoms littering the floor. The wrestlers are a sad lot. Tiger (Lori Thimsen) is a drug addict and a drunk whose only love in life is a pet Chihuahua she carries around in her sports bag. Dani (Carrie Dobro) is a tough brunette whose dreams have turned into a hard attitude. Netty (Wendy Worthington) is a fat, lovable lesbian with a liking for the occasional hotel clerk. And Lessa (Juliette Jeffers) is an intense, athletic woman who seems to have taken a wrong turn on her way to the Olympic trials. Always looking for an angle, Bigman recruits a couple of sexy sisters with a tawdry past, Dottie (Angela Eads) and Dolly (Miki Mootsey), who are accompanied by their megalomaniacal battle-ax mother, Mother Crocker (Marilyn Pitzer). Together they all must confront a riot that ensues in the stadium when the snarling, beer-guzzling crowd demands more action in the ring. While the pseudonymous playwright Martin (whose real identity is one of the biggest mysteries in today's theater scene) probably intended a somewhat realistic if comedic glimpse at the denizens of the wrestling world, something quite different emerges here. Director Geo Hartley and his actors give only a passing nod to the reality of these characters and their world. Instead, they leap ahead to an over-amped, cliched take on the characters that recalls a Fox television show. In taking this route, the production breaks the cardinal rule of farce, which requires feet firmly planted on the ground before soaring into aerial gymnastics. With the exception of Worthington, who seems to find some inner truth in her role, most of the actors have settled for a one-note, shorthand portrayal of their characters. As the promoter, the talented Lacopo goes all the way in the other direction, assuring at least that his performance will stand out, as it does. What gets lost here is the play. While certainly not Martin's strongest piece , it has more grit than the "Married ... With Children" rendition of this production.

To add to the confusion, the highlight of the perf reviewed was the refusal of a prop gun to fire at the climax of the play, which led to unintentional hilarity as the cast struggled to ad-lib their way through to the end. Unfortunately, this incident only added to the TV-sketch tone of the evening.

Cementville

(Theater Geo, Hollywood; 99 seats; $ 14 top)

Production: Theatre Geo presents a comedy in two acts by Jane Martin. Director, Geo Hartley.

Creative: Sets, Jamie Campbell; costumes, Ron Campbell; sound design, Bryan Bowen; lighting, Lou Powers. Opened March 5, 1995; reviewed March 12; runs through April 16. Running time: 1 hour, 50 min.

Cast: Dwayne Pardee ... Thom Cagle Tiger ... Lori Thimsen Nola ... Amy Scholl Dani ... Carrie Dobro Netty ... Wendy Worthington Lessa ... Juliette Jeffers Bigman ... Jay Lacopo Mother Crocker ... Marilyn Pitzer Dottie ... Angela Eads Dolly ... Miki Mootsey Miss Harmon ... Gina Novish One-Eyed Deneauve ... Gary Richmond Kid ... Manny Kleinmuntz Eddie ... Robert DiTillio Jane Martin's farce about a touring troupe of low-class women wrestlers may have some appeal as a slice of the American underbelly, but this production, with uneven acting and directing, misses the mark. The lady wrestlers, under the aegis of promoter Bigman (Jay Lacopo), arrive in Cementville, Tenn., for a one-night stand in a stadium that once housed world-class prizefighters and now features a locker room with rats in the shower and used condoms littering the floor. The wrestlers are a sad lot. Tiger (Lori Thimsen) is a drug addict and a drunk whose only love in life is a pet Chihuahua she carries around in her sports bag. Dani (Carrie Dobro) is a tough brunette whose dreams have turned into a hard attitude. Netty (Wendy Worthington) is a fat, lovable lesbian with a liking for the occasional hotel clerk. And Lessa (Juliette Jeffers) is an intense, athletic woman who seems to have taken a wrong turn on her way to the Olympic trials. Always looking for an angle, Bigman recruits a couple of sexy sisters with a tawdry past, Dottie (Angela Eads) and Dolly (Miki Mootsey), who are accompanied by their megalomaniacal battle-ax mother, Mother Crocker (Marilyn Pitzer). Together they all must confront a riot that ensues in the stadium when the snarling, beer-guzzling crowd demands more action in the ring. While the pseudonymous playwright Martin (whose real identity is one of the biggest mysteries in today's theater scene) probably intended a somewhat realistic if comedic glimpse at the denizens of the wrestling world, something quite different emerges here. Director Geo Hartley and his actors give only a passing nod to the reality of these characters and their world. Instead, they leap ahead to an over-amped, cliched take on the characters that recalls a Fox television show. In taking this route, the production breaks the cardinal rule of farce, which requires feet firmly planted on the ground before soaring into aerial gymnastics. With the exception of Worthington, who seems to find some inner truth in her role, most of the actors have settled for a one-note, shorthand portrayal of their characters. As the promoter, the talented Lacopo goes all the way in the other direction, assuring at least that his performance will stand out, as it does. What gets lost here is the play. While certainly not Martin's strongest piece , it has more grit than the "Married ... With Children" rendition of this production.

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