“The Boys Next Door”, a Cleveland comedy classic

By Bart Brewer, Reporter

“The Boys Next Door” is one of the latest productions put on by the drama department, and is definitely one of the best I’ve seen. The play has elements of comedy, drama, and was a great time overall. Let us not wait any further, and dive into “The Boys Next Door.”

The play is about the lives four mentally-challenged roommates in assisted living, and their interactions with their caretaker. This play was directed by juniors Isabele McTighe and Shayla Bailey. Since the stage is still under renovations, the play was held in the drama room, and was the only problem I had with the play, as the drama room was a total hotbox. You could tell by the way the actors were sweating that it affected them as well. However, one hot room isn’t enough to ruin a play, especially this one.

The show started off great, with Arnold (junior Jonas Beard), a very nervous guy who overthinks things, addressing the audience. He talks for a bit about how he bought 17 boxes of Wheaties, which was a really funny bit. Arnold’s parts in the play revolve more around his daily struggles and situations he gets into. Beard did a good job playing Arnold, and the voice he used made the character hilarious to listen to. Beard had me laughing throughout the play.

As the opening bit plays out, one of Arnold’s roommates, Lucien P. Smith (freshman Will Marsh), walks in and the two banter for a bit. Lucien can be described as someone who isn’t very smart, and also gets confused very easily. His part in the story revolves around him preparing to testify in front of the state senate. Marsh did a great job with this character, and really made him interesting.

     As Arnold and Lucien talk, they hear a knock on the door. Afraid it is their caretaker, they try–and fail–to hide all the boxes of Wheaties just as their caretaker, Jack (junior Dalen Murphy) walks in. Jack is the caretaker of the four roommates, and is a more down to earth kind of guy. His story bits revolve around him taking care of the other characters, and later on getting a new job. He also acts as a bit of a narrator to the audience. Murphy was good in the role, with his performance making the character someone you could relate with.

 As Jack talks with the two, the final character who is introduced in the first scene, Norman (freshman Corri Jackson), walks in. Norman works in a donut shop, and is slightly smarter than Lucien. His story is about how he tries to handle his relationship with another resident, Sheila (Kira Marshall), who likes Norman and wants his keys. Jackson put on a nice performance, with the character of Norman being fun to watch.

The final member of the main cast is introduced in a scene not too long after the first, with the character teaching one of his students how to golf. This character is Barry (junior Matthew Blender), a self-proclaimed golf pro who doesn’t know a thing about golf. His main conflict in the play has to do with him getting ready for a visit from his father Mr. Klemper (junior Roby Mann), someone who Barry hasn’t seen in nine years. Blender did very well in the role, especially in some of the more intense scenes later that has to do with his father.

The rest of the play is a lot of this, with each character doing things that relate to their personal conflict, with some hilarious filler and character interactions in between. They kill a rat, which later turns out to be their neighbor’s hamster, Arnold keeps wanting to move to Russia, and Lucien P. Smith is to be taken seriously because he has a Spider Man tie on. If there is one thing I would have to say about “The Boys Next Door,” it would be that it is probably the funniest play that I’ve seen come out of the drama department. If the rest of the plays that are lined up for this season are as good as this one, we are in for a good time.