Review by Angela Theresa Egic
Eelpout is a hilarious play about three buddies on a bachelor party outing, with beer, shots, and made complete with ordered strippers! They have decided to party at a remote location with interesting love stories and friendships, and excellent actors that give new meaning to the term “wedding jitters”. I found the play delightful!
The on-line playbill describes it: “Eelpout is a fast-paced, surreal farce, where friends are lovers, fish can talk, and life’s mysteries beckon from the bottom of a frozen lake. Sven Svensen (Jake Fallon), a versatile actor of many personas, and Ole Olsen (Julius Reese), a vibrant and interesting actor to watch, have been best buds since kindergarten, but all that changes on the morning of Ole’s ice-fishing bachelor party. Could they be something more than friends, or is Sven destined for something even more wild and strange. This fantasia on Midwestern masculinity invites us to consider the limits of Queerness. Naturally, this includes a dream ballet Eelpout Orgy!”
The simple, and good ole’ boy and friend, Lars Larsen (Keith Weiss), who embraces the grown kid who never grows up mentally, who provides the fishing icehouse and ordered the strippers. Keith is excellent at this Village simpleton who, at one point, delivers a Shakespeare worthy monologue to almost give Kenneth Branagh a run for his money. Hilarious, really!
The versatility of Keith and Jake, our lost and searching lover and best man, who impresses later as Ole’s stripper mother – facial hair and all! Enter Heidi Olsen (James Overton), also Lars is madly in lust or love with – mistaken as the stripper. James is a lovely, statuesque, and talented performer in every way.
After realizing that they (James Overton) is the sister, and not as expected, generally in a female role; at least, for me, is perfectly believable and a great, no excuses, character in this comedy.
And my personal favorite character, and probably will be everyone’s favorite, The Eelpout (Andy Donnelly) with his huge expressive eyes, and malleable face is a true actor to be reckoned with in any genre’. He had us in stitches more times than this well-written comedy (Paul William Kruse, Playwright) with just his acting before he even spoke. Even Andy’s graceful and fish-like movement embodied and made him the living fish to love.
Kudos to all, a great audience and to the parents of the director, Rachel Wolther, who were behind me. And to Paul, Rachel, and Sarah Todes (Producer), also in the audience and for providing me the photos to me in email. This play is exactly what makes theatre important and enjoyable, and we need more of this.
written by Paul Kruse
directed by Rachel Wolther
produced by Sarah Todes (NEON CAVIAR)
choreography by Eleanore Pienta
graphic design by Rachel Moranis