A production of “It Runs In The Family” opened at LVLT on Friday November 1st. The show was hilarious, fun, made you think about relationships and how you would handle situations like the ones in this play, if you weren’t laughing to hard.
The play opens in a doctors lounge where Dr. David Mortimore is practicing a speech for a group of colleagues. Dr. Mortimore played by Marty Weaver seems self-absorbed, only interested in furthering his career and forgetting the mistakes of his past which include having an affair that produced a son. Marty Weaver plays his character straight-laced until his world starts crumbling around him and then he chooses lying his way out of his wrongdoing. He plays the serious side of this character as well as he plays the frantic, worried side. When the woman who he had the affair with enters the scenario the story becomes interesting and enticing. Jane Tate played by Ela Rose is the woman who bore a son with a married man and never told him. Until now. Ela Rose plays a caring mother, well and becomes a little devilish because she knows what this is doing to Dr. Mortimore. I enjoyed the difference in the two female leads. A fellow colleague that Dr. Mortimore manipulated to help him due to his good nature Dr. Hubert Bonney played Shawn Hackler ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time and he gave the play its funniest moments. Shawn Hackler played his character as if John Cleese and Bentley from the television show the Jeffersons morphed into one person. His ability to give a physical comedic performance is impressive. He seemed free to give any performance the show needed. His vulnerability and fearless actions were refreshing. His character is likeable and makes you root for him in the end.
While all of this is going on Rosemary Mortimore the wife of Dr. Mortimore played by Sarah Spraker is diligently trying to help her husband’s speech happen with no problems. Spraker is proper and dignified as far as the farcical manner of the play will let her go. There are some moments she gets to play and show off her comedic side which is fun to watch. She shows steadfast loyalty to her husband up to the moment where she realizes what he has done. She never gets mad at him. She just politely tells him what she has been doing. Michael Drake as Bill and Monica Delgado as Mother are enjoyable side characters that add some laughs. The wheelchair used by Drake is a fun prop rolling through doors and crashing into things. Mark Avis gives an intimidating performance as Sir Willoughby Drake. Kyle Jones gives Leslie Tate a mix between an angry teenager and a toddler with temper tantrums. Some of his performance was enjoyable. I just didn’t completely believe at the age he was that he would have been acting like that. The only change I saw needed for future performances was that some of the actors made mistakes on lines. They wanted to say one thing and they started saying something else.
The direction by David Ament was well handled with all that was going on. The set design by Ron Lindblom is elaborate. The London Skyline serves as a prop as well as part of the set delivering numerous laughs from the audience when the characters went out on the ledge. The many doors within the set was important to the outcome of the shows comedic timing. The lighting design by Ginny Adams properly illuminated the set making it look like the doctors lounge was brightened by the lights of the room as well as the sun. Stage Manager Rebecca Schoof was able to do a good job organizing the constant movement of characters and wheelchairs going in and out-of-doors as well as out of the window. This production of “It Runs In The Family” is nonstop comedy and is worth seeing once maybe even twice.