Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Seattle Play has More than One Slight Hitch

Seattle ACT (A Contemporary Theatre) is currently presenting the regional premier of Lewis Black’s “One Slight Hitch,” a play about family in crisis…and a wedding. At first, this play looks like it has everything going for it:
  • -     The HUGE set is beautifully done with wallpaper, couches with pillows that match the wallpaper, hard wood floors, and a staircase with a banister making you, the audience, feel right at home.
  • -     The play itself is from a contributor to Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” where he normally writes about humor in politics.
  • -     R. Hamilton Wright and Marianne Owen make a winning combination of Mr. and Mrs. Coleman, the parents of the bride.

 Unfortunately, this play has more than just one slight hitch working against it.

Katherine Grant-Suttie, Marianne Owen, Kimberley Sustad,
Kirsten Potter, and R. Hamilton Wright. Photo by Chris Bennion
The story is simple enough, Delia Coleman (Owen) wants to give her daughter Courtney (Kimberley Sustad) the dream wedding that she never had. Doc Coleman (Wright), the long suffering husband of three daughters, goes along for the ride. Up until the wedding day, everything has been going to plan, until Ryan (Shawn Telford), Courtney’s ex-boyfriend shows up on a whim. Melanie, Courtney’s older sister (Kirsten Potter), tries to stir up the pot suggesting that perhaps Courtney still has feelings for Ryan and P. B. Coleman (Katherine Grant Suttie), Courtney’s younger sister, is trying to keep the whole family calm. Finally, there is Harper (John Ulman), the perfect groom in for a surprise.

“Hitch” has all the makings of good comedy and is definitely a pleasant play, but it falls flat in a few spots. Most of the blame should be put on the writing. Black’s humor doesn’t translate well to the stage. The script is full of one-liners and occasionally, his political humor side shows through, but it doesn’t fit in this story. With the exception of Mom and Dad, all of the characters in the play are caricatures and are often annoying rather than endearing. Telford is a good actress, but as the blushing bride, she isn’t given much material to cause the audience to root for her.

The play is also missing conflict and feels unfinished. Characters run around the stage stressed out with hardly any reason to be. Ryan, the clueless ex, should be a threat of some kind, but instead he is just in the way. A potential scene of comedy with the future in-laws is totally scrapped for some reason. For such a big stage, it is a shame that much of the area isn’t used.

“Hitch” could have been a mad cap romp, and perhaps with more revisions it can be. However, it is almost worth the price of admission to see the antics of Wright and Owen and fortunately, it ends a very nice and touching note.

“One Slight Hitch” is directed by Joe Grifasi and is being presented at the ACT Theatre, located at 700 Union Street in downtown Seattle. Tickets range from $37.50-$55 with discounts for students and seniors. The play continues through July 8 and tickets can be purchased online or by calling 206.292.7676. (Originally posted on Examiner.com)

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