Theatre 98 successfully opened its second show of the 2008 season last weekend to applause and a lot of laughter. Comedy is what this little theatre does best, and it truly delivers with Dearly Departed, a story about a Southern family dealing with the death of their father.
Led by director Timothy Guy, this cast made up of newcomers and Theatre 98 veterans truly embody the spirit of a Southern family. Dearly Departed stars Becky Thornton, Joshua Pirtle, Angie LoPresti, Catherine Phillips, Randy Hicks, Leslie Herring, Anthony Lee, Marcus Willis, Haley Moore, and Jennifer Spruiell. Special attention should be paid to Becky Thornton as the mourning (and somewhat relieved) widow. She plays the part beautifully, with the right amount of force and warmth, reminding me a bit of my own grandmother before she passed away. Also watch for the comedy of Marcus Willis as the Reverand, Angie LoPresti as the extremely religious and completely hilarious Margarete and Haley Moore as Delightful and Nadine. At the heart of the story, though, is Catherine Phillips as a woman who married into the Turpin family. She and her husband have been trying to have children, but she can't seem to carry a baby to term. She is the one who takes care of the entire cast when things go wrong - mothering them in such a way that makes her inability to have a child even more tragic, in my opinion. This sadness does not drag the story down, but gives it even more depth and heart, as she comes to realize her family is complete without a child, but does that realization come a little too late? These particular characters stood out to me, but other characters will resonate with other audience members differently, I'm sure. The acting is superb from the entire cast and much credit should go to director Timothy Guy and stage manager Hilary Martin for their attention to detail. By the way, the set is beautiful - this is a very colorful and vibrant show!
Dearly Departed opened at Theatre 98 on April 18 at 8 p.m. Upcoming showtimes are: April 23-26 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 27 at 2:30. Tickets are $15 per person or $10 for students. Prorated season tickets are still available. The box office opens on Monday, April 14 and the hours are 5:15-7:15 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Please call 928-4366 for tickets.