"One Slight Hitch" - Lewis Black - Arlington Friends of the Drama/AFD Theatre (Arlington, MA.) - REVIEW

(Cover Photo: Lewis' Black's "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" at AFD Theatre in Arlington, MA. until December 10, 2023Photo Credit Leslie Maiocco)


By Kevin T. Baldwin

METRMAG Reviewer

# 774-242-6724   


“Lesbians! I didn't know! I can't even tell when I meet one. And I'm a doctor!" 

                                                                               - ("Doc") - Lewis Black

Arlington Friends of the Drama/AFD Theatre

Presents Lewis Black's

"ONE SLIGHT HITCH"

Written by Lewis Black

Directed by David Dooks

Production Manager Ginger Webb

Cast Includes: Jon Nuquist as "Doc"; Karen Fanale as "Delia"; Mack Carroll as "Ryan"; Cassidy Guimares as "PB"; Riley Flynn as "Harper"; Kimberly Blaise as "Courtney"; Kaleigh Ryan as "Melanie"

Additional Creative Team:

Stage Manager - Allie Brown; Intimacy Choreographer - Katie Swimm; Set Designer - Charlie Carr; Costume Designer - Shahn Knights; Makeup and Hair - Jeanne Callinan; Lighting Designer - Tom Powers; Props and Set Dressing - Judy Weinberg and Janice Sophis; Stage Crew - Melissa Quirk and Ginger Webb; Box Office - Clare Livak; Audition Aides - Marcie Theriault, Charlotte Kelley and Lesley Schwalbe; Casting Committee - David Dooks, Karen Dervin, Phyllis Uloth and Allie Brown; Program Cover - Garyfallia Pagonis; Program - Cyngar; Photography - Leslie Maiocco; Social Media - Ginger Webb; Set Crew - Dylan Bason, Iain Bason, Charlie Carr, Scott Heffron, Stu Kazin, Audrey Lewis, Ken Livak, Shayna Loeffler, Suzi Lubar, Ken Theriault, David Warnock and Ginger Webb.

AFD THEATRE, 22 Academy Street, Arlington, MA. 02476

Performances:

December 1, 2023 through December 10, 2023

(Contact Box Office for Exact Times)

TICKETS:

For tickets and more information, please call # 781-646-5922 or email the box office at boxoffice@afdtheatre.org or visit the website at www.afdtheatre.org/buy-tickets

COVID 19 PROTOCOLS

Contact Venue for Most Updated COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Information.

Arlington Friends of the Drama (AFD) juices up the DeLorean and takes us back to the 1980s with their latest production of Lewis Black's "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" where one family's very important wedding day falls apart faster than a crumbling wedding cake. 

Rest assured, though, and not to give too much away, a wedding will happen by the end of the play.

The two-act play made its premiere in Massachusetts in 2011 at the Williamstown Theatre Festival and has since been staged many times. 

Now comes the AFD staging and it is a production well worth seeing thanks to Black's script, a simply beautiful set and, most importantly, exceptional performances by the entire cast.

Black's rather restrained sitcom plot focuses on the wedding day of freelance writer Courtney (Kimberly Blaise), a stressed out bride-to-be just a few short hours from marrying her flamboyant psychologist fiancé Harper (Riley Flynn). 

Blaise is charming as Courtney, but Courtney’s emotional state gradually deteriorates as the show progresses and (as well played by Flynn) Harper's "office couch" may prove way too small to handle Courtney's issues.

Courtney's similarly stressed out parents include her mother, Delia (Karen Fanale), and general practitioner father, “Doc” (Jon Nuquist), who are both working to make Courtney's wedding to Harper a "special day."

As Shakespeare's character "Puck" pointed out: "Lord, what fools these mortals be!”   

(Photo: Kaleigh Ryan as "Melanie" and Cassidy Guimares as "PB" in a scene from the comedy "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" by Lewis Black, now playing at AFD Theatre in Arlington, MA. until December 10, 2023Photos by Leslie Maiocco, Brigid Davis, Mary Babic)

This "special day" is shot all to hell once Doc opens the door to his Cincinnati home, where the wedding is about to take place, and is unhappily startled by the appearance of Ryan (Mack Carroll), Courtney’s former boyfriend, who has hitchhiked his way to their door.

Carroll is terrific as the irresponsible Ryan, who fancies himself the world's new Jack Kerouac, living his life on the road (and, apparently, impoverished after losing his place in New York City). 

Doc is convinced Ryan has returned to try and stop the wedding. 

However, Ryan explains he has had no contact with Courtney, therefore he had no way of knowing Courtney was even living back home with her parents, let alone getting married.

In any event, Doc attempts to hide Ryan away with the assistance of youngest daughter, PB (Cassidy Guimares), who also occasionally serves as our host and narrator for the show). 

This sets everything up for an entertaining couple of hours of absolute mayhem.

Guimares is exuberant as the young Republican "PB" and injects such a sense of early 80s' enthusiasm, it perfectly kicks everything off at the start of the show. 

The chemistry between Nuquist and Fanale as the frazzled conservative parents is unmistakable. 

Their interpersonal exchanges during the story makes us feel we are part of the goings on but, believe me, you wouldn't want to be part of THIS family's "goings on."  

(Photo: Jon Nuquist as "Doc" fishes in his living room while Cassidy Guimares as "PB" and Kayleigh Ryan as "Melanie" look on in a scene from the comedy "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" by Lewis Black, now playing at AFD Theatre in Arlington, MA. until December 10, 2023Photos by Leslie Maiocco, Brigid Davis, Mary Babic)

The presence of Ryan is obviously disruptive of the nuptials, but Black’s astutely constructed farce takes several distinctive turns and thankfully saves itself from dissolving into mediocrity.

Enter Courtney’s other sister, an attractive, liberated partying young nurse named Melanie (Kaleigh Ryan).

Ryan is perfection as Melanie, who instantly puts the moves on Ryan...in between trips to the family's home liquor cart. Yet Melanie also poses many insightful, thought-provoking questions to everyone in her family which all prove quite pivotal by the end of the story.

By the way, like almost every character in this show, let's go back to that liquor cart for a moment: 

For some reason, Black appears to have been obsessed with including more drinking among his "HITCH" characters - perhaps in some bizarre attempt to overtake the amount of drinking done by the characters in Edward Albee's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf(no small feat, it should be noted).

This is not hyperbole, by the way. There is an endless number of trips to the bar, averaging one trip every two to three minutes over the course of two hours. And this is the MORNING of the wedding.

However, overall, under the capable direction of David Dooks, the AFD cast is not only restrained but exemplary in how it executes the majority of Black’s script.

Occasionally, actor's nuance in how lines were uttered replaced Black's comedic timing, losing some of the "punch" required for the rapid-fire punchline responses in the Black dialogue but, despite this minor issue, the farce is definitely there and still highly entertaining. 

(Photo: Kimberly Blaise as "Courtney" sits with Karen Fanale as "Delia," Cassidy Guimares as "PB" and Kaleigh Ryan as "Melanie" sharing in a rare lucid moment from of the otherwise insane farce, "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" by Lewis Black, now playing at AFD Theatre in Arlington, MA. until December 10, 2023Photos by Leslie Maiocco, Brigid Davis, Mary Babic)

By the end of the show, there is a pause in the laughter as Delia elicits a long, soul-searching monologue speaking about wedding and marriage as experienced by the “last great generation” which allows Black to wax poetic (at least a little, and in his own cynical way). 

As mentioned, the single set is majestic with fine attention to detail. Costumes are reflective of the summer of 1981 and the pre-show recording of "Casey Kasem's Top 40 Countdown" is a terrific way to establish the time and place before the show even begins.

"ONE SLIGHT HITCH" continues in Arlington until December 10th, and it is one riotous wedding you will most likely never forget.

Coming to Arlington Friends of the Drama in March, 2024 is "COURT MARTIAL AT FORT DEVENS" by Jeffrey Sweet. For tickets and more information, please call # 781-646-5922 or email the box office at boxoffice@afdtheatre.org or visit the website at www.afdtheatre.org/buy-tickets

Approximately two hours, 10 minutes with one intermission 

Kevin T. Baldwin is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) 

@MetrmagReviews

@Theatre_Critics 



ABOUT THE SHOW

In Lewis Black's comedy, "ONE SLIGHT HITCH" it is Courtney’s wedding day, and her mom, Delia, is making sure that everything is perfect. 

The groom is perfect, the dress is perfect, and the decorations (assuming they arrive) will be perfect. 

Then, like in any good farce the doorbell rings. 

And all hell breaks loose. 

So much for perfect. 


ABOUT ARLINGTON FRIENDS OF THE DRAMA/AFD THEATRE

ARLINGTON FRIENDS OF THE DRAMA, now known as AFD THEATRE, was founded in 1923 and is one of the ten oldest continually operating community theatre groups in the country. Now located in the former St. John's Episcopal Church, which has been extensively updated and made handicap-accessible.  AFD THEATRE is among the finest area playhouses for actors, directors, production designers and audiences to produce and enjoy live theatre.

About AFD THEATRE Seasons

AFD THEATRE puts on four productions: two musicals and two straight plays. AFD THEATRE holds auditions months ahead, and rehearse evenings and weekends. AFD THEATRE welcomes you to join the fun: help build sets, make costumes, do lights. Usher or sell concessions. AFD THEATRE is a community endeavor that seeks to engage all ages in the fun and exciting act of putting on a play! 

AFD THEATRE

22 Academy Street

Arlington, MA 02476 

# 781-646-5922

boxoffice@afdtheatre.org

membership@afdtheatre.org

info@afdtheatre.org

afdtheatre.org