Brazil production was delightful

Monday, May 17, 2004

"Send Me No Flowers" is one of two wild and wicked and tremendously funny plays from the pens of Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore. Barasch also wrote "Make A Million" which was produced on Broadway in 1958. His skills as a situation comedy writer can also be seen in reruns of TV's "Rhoda", "The Danny Kaye Show" and "Fish", a spin-off of "Barney Miller".

The cast of the latest Community Theatre of Clay County Inc. production did "Flowers" justice over the weekend, hitting their marks and helping the audience forget about high gas prices and other troubles for about two hours.

The play was first presented on the New York stage in December 1960 and was later made into a movie starring Rock Hudson and Doris Day.

In the local production, Elaine Clarke was terrific as Judy Kimball, the attractive, long-suffering, cheerful wife of hypochondriac George Kimball (Kevin McCrea). Another standout was Carl McKinney, who played George's best friend and next door neighbor, Arnold Nash.

Arnold can't handle the news of George's impending demise and after promising to take care of the widow Kimball, goes on a three-day drunk.

George's impending death is all a mistake, of course; he overhears a portion of a phone call from his physician (David Maurey) about another patient, an old man who will soon die of natural causes. George, put on presumably sugar pills for his hypochondria-induced stomach problems, asks the doctor if a physician would tell a patient he is going to die.

"Is your life insurance paid up?" the doctor asks.


"Do you have a will?"


"Then I wouldn't tell you!" the doctor says before leaving on a fishing trip.

Naturally, when George tells his wife about the "diagnosis", she can't reach the vacationing doctor to confirm the bad news. When she does learn the truth, Judy is convinced George is having an affair.

Complicating a convoluted situation is the arrival of an old boyfriend. George decides to set up his wife with her old college flame, Bert (Matt Tribble).

The whole thing is a wonderful example of what happens when communication and trust breaks down.

All the cast did a great job including Sandy Gibbens (who sells George three cemetery plots, two for the couple and one for the second husband), Cody Whitesell (who flirts with Judy as the dry cleaning man), Lisa Myers (the girl George turned down at a convention), Ashlee Vitz (the girl Judy imagines George is sleeping with) and Tyler Hutcheson (who also appears in one of delightful imagination scenes).

As always, the food is great at the Lark Theatre.

It cannot be emphasized enough that Brazil is very fortunate to have its own fine dinner theater, an opportunity many larger cities would envy.

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