‘Oh Dad, Poor Dad’ Starts off the Cleveland Drama Year
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“Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung you in the Closet and I’m Feelin’ so Sad” is the first major production by the theater department this year. The play is co-directed by Oz Turner and Duncan Kass, and is about a mother who brings her son and deceased husband to an island in the Caribbean. Now, that may sound vague, and that’s mainly because this play gets weird. The kind of weird that makes you question if someone slipped you something beforehand kind of weird. I’ll be going over the first scene of the play, and since the play is still showing, we will be avoiding major spoilers to the plot. Now, without further delay, let’s dive into the dark comedy that is “Oh Dad.”
The play starts with bell boys (Aubrey Tilford, Casey Fristoe, Eliana Kertzner, Will Marsh, Patience Fletchner, and Gavin MacCartney) frantically rushing around a hotel room. They are knocking things over, carrying luggage in, and at one point they drop the father’s casket on the floor. It is a very funny opening scene. As they clean the place up, Madame Rosepettle (McKenzie Potter-Moen) walks in, and clearly isn’t happy with their work. Madame is a very cold and cruel character who is avid about long monologues. During the play, she tries to find a new husband, while also trying to ruin the love of others, in an admittedly comedic way. Personally, I think that Potter-Moen did a great job portraying her. She was able to pull off the cold and calculating portion of the character, while also being humorous when the line called for it.
Madame berates the bell boys for a few minutes, with the Head Bell Boy (Abbey Wilusz) trying to stand up to her, and ultimately failing. It is now that Madame calls in her son, Jonathan (Matthew Blender) into the room. Jonathan is a very nervous person, with the character stuttering left and right. Throughout the play, Jonathan struggles to overcome his mother, especially after he learns some dark secrets of hers in the second half. It seems like a very hard part to play, and I think Blender did an excellent job playing him. Every scene that he is in is entertaining, with the character delivering some of the funniest lines in the play.
Madame is very quick to continue to berate the bell boys, as well as her son. Soon, the bell boys bring in Madame’s Venus Fly Traps, (Puppeted by Jordan Little-Reece, Isabele McTighe, Tate Calem, and Sophia Wieback), as well as one of my personal favorite characters, Rosalinda the Fish (Seth Prevatte). This character has no lines, outside the occasionally glub, but still manages to be one of the funniest characters in the show. The reveal of the fish from under a piece of cloth absolutely killed me.
The scene wraps up with Madame going into her room, leaving Jonathan alone. Now, there are two more major characters, but as their scenes come later, I will only be talking about them to avoid spoilers for the plot. The first of these is Rosalie (Claire Miles), a babysitter who falls for Jonathan. This character gets a lot of comedic lines to say, as well as some serious moments, and I think Claire pulled it off magnificently. I was laughing when the moment was right, and deeply interested when it came time for things to get more serious. The other major character is Commodore Roseabove (Alex Leatha), a rich person who falls for Madame halfway through the show. Alex does a great job playing the Commodore, with his performance being a joy to watch. While he is only in one part of the play, that one part is made all the better by his performance.
Now, you might be thinking that this show is all fun and laughs based on what I have said so far. If you go into this show with that mentality however, you will get back-stabbed so hard you won’t know what hit you. Like I said, this is a dark comedy that can get rather weird and trippy at times. Later in the play at the beginning of the second act, the play starts to show its darker side, with the scene starting with flashing lights and a creepy laugh in the background. With that said, I will say that you should go see this while it is still showing. As of this review, it will be playing on Oct. 6-8 at 7 p.m. You should go, have a laugh, and be prepared to go on one hell of a ride.