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Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008

Light Comedy

Theater Review

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   The first eight or nine pages of Pat Cook's script are written as casual conversation held by three elderly women in a domestic environment. All three women are talking at the same time- no one's listening. It's a comically surreal way to begin the season in Elm Grove as the Sunset Playhouse opens its production of Those Crazy Ladies in the House on the Corner.

  The light, contemporary comedy by the prolific Texas playwright centers around three sisters who live together in a small town. Concerned for their wellbeing, their doctor (Pat Perkins) wants them to get a live-in nurse to help them out, but the three are too proud of their independence to accept help. Their doctor tries talking them into accepting a nurse in the guise of a young woman named Jean (Nasreen Ameri) who needs a place to stay.

  Cook's comedy is pleasant without being overwhelmingly tacky. The author of more than 100 plays, Cook knows how to install cleverly comic dialogue into a casually interesting plot that doesn't require a whole lot of thought. The production fits rather nicely around the script without picking up any of the finer, more subtle humor that Cook patched into it. This would be a problem if it weren't for the fact that director Mark Salentine has done an admirable job of bringing a sense of overriding fun to the stage. The milieu of the comedy would tend to gravitate toward a somewhat empty portrayal of the title characters, but Inge Adams, Dolores Ivanchich and Frances Klumb have clearly made an effort to put some depth into their performances, which are at their best in the dizzying cacophony of those moments when they're all talking at once.

Runs through Sept. 27.

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