Before I write this review, I would like to set the scene for you. Because this particular play is set to be performed only once (Sunday, Nov. 23, 2008), I attended a rehearsal at writer and director Judith Falloon-Reid’s house; so the review will make the paper in time. This was not a dress rehearsal, but I was able to get the gist of the play.
Had I had the opportunity to see the dress rehearsal at the venue, an actual comedy club, which is through no fault of anyone but fate, I may think differently about the play. Allow me to elaborate.
A Night at the Comedy Club is about three high school friends, all comics, who deal with everyday struggles. Benjie (played by Nicholas Bailey) is a Christian comic.
He doesn’t make much money, but he’s waiting for God to give him his golden opportunity to be famous. Leroy (Ryan Smith) is the instigator of the group. His idea of living is making money however he can. And, Trevor (Justin Fisher) is the famous comic of the group. He’s toured all over the country and is making a lot of money; which he readily spends on cars, jewelry and women.
While driving his brother’s car, Trevor is stopped and arrested for drug and firearm possession. He gets put in jail and finds that he has no true friends, except Benjie.
The plot is topical in today’s world of “I’ve got to get money, clothes and women to be successful,” which is thrown in the faces of many young people. Performed by the Christian theater troupe named ByHisWord Theater Company, Night at the Comedy Club has “Christian play” written all over it. At its heart is a lesson of love and acceptance. I just wish it wasn’t a one-act, four-scene play.
The brevity of the time allotted for the play takes a bit away from the overall work itself. There’s not enough time to establish pathos and the moral of the story. Now,
I’ve always been a fan of short and sweet, but I think this play is too short and almost sweet.
Director Falloon-Reid, on first impression, seems like a woman with a mission. Her directing style is quite tedious. She is concerned with every blocking and voice inflection; which is what every director should be concerned with.
She’s involved in different organizations, one of them being shipping clothes and toys to needy families in Haiti. Her work with Night at the Comedy Club is just one of her good deeds for the month. Proceeds from the show will benefit the group’s Christmas missions to Gonaives, Haiti and Freeport, Bahamas.
Bailey, a towering man, is a veteran to Christian theater, but seems to lack the charm needed to be a comedian. He’s funny, but there was something missing; the same with Smith. Both men have the potential to be funny, they just need a little more guidance and a little more practice. Fisher seems to have the comic gene, but is still grappling with his actor side. He’s an OK actor; but I think he can do a lot better with time and practice.
I know it seems that I have just given A Night at the Comedy Club a bad review; which I haven’t quite given. Like I stated, the context of the play was out of whack. I didn’t have a set to create the ambience that is needed to make the play. The actors were still working on their characters; finding their voices. And, by the time this story is published, the actors have had an extra week to perfect their roles. I’m sure, if you go to see the play this Sunday night, you will be pleased.
The moral of this review is simple: There are many things and people that make up a good production, movie, play, etc. The writing is a skeleton for how the work should look. Adding actors, directors, stage crew, stage set-up, and audience members brings the work to fruition. Any of the roles just mentioned can make or break a work. It is my hope that Falloon-Reid, Bailey, Smith, Fisher and the stage crew have created a work that is inspiring and thought-provoking the night it is performed.
Photo: Judith Falloon-Reid
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Make it Rain and A Night at the Comedy Club
WHEN: Sunday, Nov. 23 at 5 p.m.
WHERE: Café Tobago, 4801 S. University Drive, #123, Davie
COST: $30 per person, includes a buffet dinner.
CONTACT: Judith Falloon-Reid, 954-882-4359, www.bhwordoutreach.com