“Lone Star” and “Laundry and Bourbon” Review - Like a Ride in a 1959 T-bird Convertible!

Oil Lamp Theater may not have cornered the market on charming, quirky, comical plays, but it sure is closing in on it.

We were among the lucky ones: we attended plays at the original Oil Lamp Theater, in a condominium in Wrigleyville.  Not surprisingly, it was cozy, intimate, warm and welcoming. 

 

Even thoughOil Lamp Theater has now moved to an actual theater space, the Executive Director, Keith Gerth, has done an excellent job of re-creating that ambiance, right down to the homemade cookies!

 

OK, so the cookies aren’t the reason to go (they are delicious!), but they are a telling example of the attention paid to the many details that make Oil Lamp Theater a special theater-going experience.

 

Need further proof? Since its opening in 2005 at the Gerth’s condominium in Wrigleyville, the theater has mounted 30 productions and topped 10,000 guests! And it has just  launched a spiffy new website. More about that later.

 “Lone Star” and “Laundry and Bourbon”–– billed as two plays about small-town Texas life––skillfully deliver on the promise.  It’s exactly the way I, with my feet firmly planted in the Midwest, picture it!

Both plays by James McLure, describe a simpler life, but the slow-burning drama (think The Honeymooners with an adult, uniquely Texas edge) shows what’s really going on!

 

 

Laundry and Bourbon offers us the world from Roy’s wife’s (Lexi Saunders) perspective.  While folding laundry (If you’re at all anal, you may not be able to watch the way she folds laundry! If you’re not, it’s as funny as Sheldon and Penny in The Big Bang Theory.), while sipping bourbon and Cokes with her friend Hattie (Sara Heller), Elizabeth laments her troubled marriage to Roy.

Let’s just say that if those sheets are warm it’s just because they came out of the dryer. Smug, mean-spirited Amy Lee (Lauren Lichtenstein) is “nice enough” to share the hottest gossip: Roy’s having a hot time with another woman. Are they cornered in their lives? Do we think so when we hear Roy’s version?

 

Lone Star’s narrator, heavy-drinking Vietnam veteran Roy (convincingly played by Evan Johnson) shares his jaundiced perspective on his world with his brother Ray (Joe Boersma) and his daft nemesis, Cletis (Michael Dalberg), who does a miraculous job of getting under his skin.  We are allowed a glimpse into Roy’s, Ray's (and Cletis’) soul. It’s pretty dark in there.

 

Through the lens of Lone Star and Laundry and Bourbon we see both sides of the same rocky marriage, as well as the many sides of friendship, forgiveness and the possibility (finally!) of growing up.

 

As the director Elizabeth Lovelady says, “Neither play falls firmly in the “comedy” category, and no one gets the satisfaction of a happy ending…but there’s so much hope and joy peeking through.”(italics mine)

 

Unique productions like this one with thoughtful (but not heavy-handed) messages,  ARE the reason to go to Oil Lamp Theater.“Lone Star” and “Laundry and Bourbon" plays until April 19.

Coming up next...

We saw my husband’s all-time favorite play, Sylvia, the story about an insanely devoted dog, by A.R. Gurney twice (once at each location). “Sylvia” may be the only name my husband has ever remembered.

So we’re psyched about seeing Later Life, also byA.R. Gurney when itopens April 30.. See you there?

For more information and ticket information, visit the exciting new Oil Lamp Theater website.

 

 

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