Saturday, May 9, 2009

Ripe Conditions for a Fine Time -- Review

Early on in the play Ripe Conditions, now being staged by Theater Undreground at the Civic Center playhouse in Richmond, IL, a character notes that conditions are ripe for tornadoes. Judging from opening night last night (May 8th, 2009), I'd say that conditions are also ripe for a rollicking good time. Ripe Conditions is the story of two hick brothers, Buster (Tim Mosbach) and Lester (Corey M. Keane), still living together in their ramshackle house despite years of rivalry and one-upsmanship. Their boisterous jousting escalates when an old flame, Ann (Charlene Aklinski), returns to town for the funeral of her brother. From there, the show gives the audience a near-nonstop barrage of adult-oriented reminiscences, jokes, innuendo, and slapstick. The cast is highly amusing, the script very good, and the direction solid. There's also more on-stage mayhem with sets and props than I've ever seen in a local production before. I don't want to give any of the play's secret twists and turns away, but when the first act nears its end, watch out! This production was highly amusing, and the few opening-night gaffeswere hard to separate from the general level of well-orchestrated chaos. My wife and I had a great time at the play, as did my fourteen-year-old son, though I have to warn theater-goers that the language and innuendo may not be for everyone. As Theater Undreground's promo says, "If you are offended by any of the following, you probably shouldn't come to the show: farm boys, bad words, bathing in movable tubs, Mother Nature's will, beer, cash crops, chain saw art ... [the list goes on a while, and I've shortened it for the review] ... kissing, bathroom jokes, innuendos, lots of broken stuff... You have been warned." So, if any of those things upset you, you might want to stay away. The rest of you, though, should have a tornado of a good time.

For a brief taste, check out the production's You Tube video, and be sure to notice the excellent show poster and graphics work by Marlena Wagner. (The tickets feel like baseball cards; collect them all!)

No comments: