Laugh it up

Fuddy Meers

Josephine Hall as Claire, foreground; behind her is Peter Story as Millet.

Josephine Hall as Claire, foreground; behind her is Peter Story as Millet.

Rated 5.0

Claire is a pleasant-looking woman in her 30s. She lives in a nice house with her loving husband and her not-so-loving, rebellious teenage son. Every morning Claire wakes up to start her day, throwing back the covers, taking a deep breath of fresh air and asking her husband, “Who are you?”Claire has a form of amnesia that clears her memory each night as she sleeps. On most days she begins the morning by flipping through a book of photos and letters that cover the basics of who she is. But today, before she can make her way through the book, she is kidnapped by a man with a pronounced lisp and an even more pronounced limp and is whisked away to the country, to the house where she was raised.

There she meets her mother, who is recovering from a stroke and has trouble speaking clearly, most of her words coming out in confused gibberish. Meanwhile, Claire’s husband and son are speeding toward the country in an attempt to find her. Along the way, we begin to discover bizarre and shocking things about the two.

The plot continues to thicken as the ensemble is joined by a surly female police officer and a man named Millet, whose alter ego is a foul-mouthed hand puppet. The twists and turns and over-the-top hilarious antics of the plot get even wilder as the play continues to weave its storyline.

The B Street Theatre bounces back from a less-than-par holiday presentation with its brilliant production of Fuddy Meers, written by David Lindsay-Abaire.

Fuddy Meers opened at the Manhattan Theatre Club in October 1999, and has since enjoyed a highly successful run off-Broadway. Best described as an intelligently written and well-timed, laugh-out-loud comedy with farce-like overtones and undercurrents of humanity, Fuddy Meers is now one of the most widely produced plays across the United States. Its run in Sacramento will be a definite triumph with the wonderful talent and direction of the B Street Theatre crew.

Buck Busfield directed. Between the B Street and Fantasy Theatres, he’s now staged over 60 productions including, most recently, Breaking Up and Escanaba in Da Moonlight.

Greg Alexander shines once again at B Street, this time as the character of the limping-man. Alexander has appeared in more than 10 B Street productions, including the recent As Things Remain and last year’s hit The Affections of May.

Josephine Hall returns for her second consecutive production; she recently portrayed Melissa in As Things Remain. Hall, a native of Great Britain, has an extensive theater history—her resume includes works with Fort Worth Shakespeare in the Park, Kentucky Shakespeare Festival, Centenary Stage Company and Playhouse on the Square. She’s been a welcome addition to the Sacramento theater community.

Kurt Johnson, a regular at B Street, delivers a multitude of laughs in the role of Claire’s husband, Richard. Johnson once again proves his comic prowess as well as his flair for dramatics in playing the man with a checkered past.

One of the production’s scene-stealers is Judy Jean Berns, who plays Claire’s mother. The veteran of regional theater has an extensive list of performance credits and television and movie roles—ER, Providence, Female Perversions and a number of soap operas. Berns’ performance is priceless, making the show a sidesplitting experience. The show also features outstanding performances by Eason Donner as the son, Mollie Michie-Lepp as the female police officer and Peter Story as Millet, the puppet guy.

B Street Theatre’s Fuddy Meers is definitely one of the year’s must-sees.