Profiles Performance Ensemble, at Red Bones Theatre.
Evelyn’s doting fiance, Talmadge, is crippling her with kindness. Ramona’s jealous husband Mel considers opening fire–perhaps with a rifle or slingshot–as a polite way to get a person’s attention. Teale has suffered from asthma ever since her boyfriend dumped her. And Margery wants some adventure before returning to an indifferent spouse. All four are hoping to enjoy some quiet time at the women’s bass fishing tournament, but durned if wimpy Talmadge and grumpy Mel don’t tag along and upset everything. And double-durned if all of them don’t discover hidden strengths and vulnerabilities in themselves by the time the prize fish is finally landed.
Joan Ackermann’s Zara Spook and Other Lures is a genially goofy comedy made even giddier by Steve Rosen’s delightful score of string-band ditties. Its thoroughly likable characters brim with endearing but often inexplicable eccentricities (possibly the result of too many hasty revisions). Kay Martinovich’s deft direction creates a sense of continuity, however, that almost ties up the loose ends, and the unexaggerated performances make us like the characters too much to question their motives closely. Darrell Christopher and Kerry Richlan are adorable as the cuddly Talmadge and klutzy Evelyn, while John Montana and Mollie Allen as the hootin’ and hollerin’ Mel and Ramona rival Theseus and Hippolyta.
The power of a retreat to nature is not a new idea (think of A Midsummer Night’s Dream), but this romantic romp has enough screwball laughs and countersexist wisdom to win over deli-counter anglers as well as hard-core cast-and-blast fans.