T. James Belich

Woody Allen's "Don't Drink the Water" at Lakeshore Players

Well, once again I've seen a great show late in its run, giving me little opportunity to spread the word (and the introduction of an adorable yet time-consuming infant at my house means that I didn't get to writing a review until nearly a week later!).

Lakeshore opened its season with Woody Allen's Cold War comedy Don't Drink the Water, directed by Kevin T. Houle (who directed Doubt, a Parable earlier this year). The premise is simple enough: a family of tourists, visiting a reclusive and unnamed Eastern European country, are forced to seek refuge in the American Embassy when they start taking pictures of a military outpost and are branded as spies by the secret police. With the hapless but well-meaning son to the ambassador Axel Magee (D.W. Surine) in charge the situation soon escalates and before long Mr. and Mrs. Hollander are driving Axel and the rest of of the embassy staff up the walls.

Kevin T. has assembled some fine actors in the key roles which take a script that will give you a good chuckle to a performance that has you doubled over. Frank Blomgren and Julie Bohn are perfect as the bickering, stereotypical American tourists Walter and Marion Hollander and their exchanges sparkle with spot-on comic timing. Rebekah Kreger (also part of Lakeshore's production of Doubt) aptly plays their slightly-more-normal daughter Susan who soon forms a mutual attraction to Axel, much to her father's chagrin. Surine comes across convincingly as the nice guy who, bumbling though he may be, comes through in the end. All together the cast keeps this play moving along at a clip pace and though some of the jokes you can see coming (did we really think the bomb was disarmed?) they hit the mark. Though of course originally set in what were contemporary times, the setting of the Cold War here has the feel of a period comedy that in the 21st century evokes the sense of simpler times when the "bad guys" were more easily identifiable. Lastly, set designer Dennis Joslyn once again does wonders with the limited size of the Lakeshore stage. 4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

1 comment

# Claudia on 10/01/10 at 20:59
I'm missing a ton of shows this autumn. Love seeing anything Kevin T. directs. It has a smashing cast. How was Mankato? Hope that went well for all.

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