Feb 2, 2020
If you love theater that makes you laugh out loud, then Ripcord by American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire is for you. If you love a production that features a crackerjack ensemble with two “old ladies” in the leads, you’ve got to see this one, currently playing at Cinnabar Theater. It’s a hoot, a knee-slapper, and manages to strum your heartstrings in the bargain— definitely in the Don’t Miss Department.
Abby (Laura Jorgensen) and Marilyn (Kate Brickley) have been thrown together in a two-bed room in their assisted living community, and Abby’s not happy about it. She’d prefer no roommate at all, and especially not Marilyn who is decidedly too chatty and upbeat. When being mean doesn’t work, when begging a favor from the room manager doesn’t work, Abby finally pleads with Marilyn to move.
No dice, says Marilyn, but she’s game for a bet that will either get her the better bed in the room or force her to change rooms. The competition is fierce, with both women madly pulling pranks in order to win. The two seemingly will stop at nothing, and as the stunts get wilder, the play gets hilarious. Marilyn’s daughter Colleen (Sarah McKereghan) and son-in-law Derek (Chad Yarish) get into the action, as well as room attendant Scotty (Kyle Stoner). A surprise visitor (John Browning) brings the action to a climax.
But I wouldn’t dare give away any more of the plot, as its juicy twists and turns are marvelous surprises, often eliciting gales of laughter from the audience. The script sneaks in some heart as well, that serves to enhance the overall effect— it’s another winner from a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright.
Jorgensen and Brickley are terrific in the leads, cast perfectly for the two clashing personalities, with great comic skills. The excellent ensemble adds wonderful touches throughout, demonstrating comedic gold. Stoner is an absolute delight as cheeky wanna-be actor Scotty.
Director James Pelican mines the script’s comedy and stages the action to maximize the laughs. Brilliant scenic design by Joseph Elwick is matched by effective lighting design by Wayne Hovey (fabulous projections and use of scrims). Costume design by Donnie Frank economically makes multiple outfits for each character, and captures personality too. Jared Emerson-Johnson’s sound design subtly enhances, particularly the scenes outside the nursing home.
Only one of the women can win the bet, but it’s a win-win for us, we who get to enjoy a superb evening’s entertainment and leave the theater lighter and happier.
By David Lindsay-Abaire. Presented by Cinnabar Theater
Through Feb. 16, 2020
Fri/Sat at 7:30pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Tickets: $20-32; Senior and Student discounts
3333 Petaluma Blvd. North
Petaluma, CA 94952
Photos by Eric Chazankin
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