I attended Sherman Community Players' preview performance of “Kindly Leave the Stage” and was greeted with an inventive comedy that is thoroughly entertaining. Artistic Director Anthony Nelson has directed a solid hit that is thought provoking and superbly funny at the same time — a rare and satisfying blend.
As Act I begins, we are introduced to what appears to be an urbane, married couple whose intent is divorce — the sooner the better. With them are two friends, both attorneys, who agree to represent the acrimonious couple.
We quickly learn, however, that things are not always as they seem. British playwright, John Chapman has brilliantly crafted a “play within a play,” drawing the audience in for one surprise after another. The twists and turns in plot, action and relationships barrel ahead with fun that is rich indeed.
Chapman's elements of comedy, invention and surprise are presented in grand fashion by a talented, ensemble cast. Longtime SCP favorite Darrah Dunn is superb in the role of Rupert, the injured husband, aggrieved in the wake of his wife's alleged infidelity. Carrissa Hodges is equally superb in the role of Madge, Rupert's straying wife. Benjamin Fuhr is outstanding in the role of Charles, the retreating scoundrel at the center of Rupert and Madge's marital dismay.
Chessica Moon-Burton is very funny in the role of Mrs. Cullen, the intrusive mother-in-law, which she delivers with great zest. Jennifer Becherer plays Sarah, a character with strong ideas of her own on the topic of romance, and she is quite good in the role.
Maxwell Norris adds a robust measure of mayhem in the role of Edward, the aged and well-traveled actor with memories of King Lear never quite relinquished. Norris, who is actually much younger, performs in grand and sweeping fashion — and is hilarious in the role.
Gena Graham, as Nurse Brown, provides laughs aplenty in her appearances throughout the play. Hannah Sanza is dear and funny in her dual roles of Angela and the prompter. And, Albany Martin performs well in her brief stint as the stage hand.
A splendid set and outstanding costumes bring strong production values to the comedy, along with solid lighting, sound, and props. Laurie Cutler and Pam Sanza, as stage managers, keep everything running smoothly and in good order.
Although there is no orchestra and no musical score, director Anthony Nelson and his players have added an element of music that is truly not to miss.
Kindly Leave the Stage is a rollicking comedy that is an absolute delight. Somewhat adult subject matter may make it more suitable for mature audiences. It plays through February 25.
The box office may be reached at 903-892-8818 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday and from 10 a.m.-noon Saturdays.