|Wayne David Parker, Terry Heck and Kyle Mitchell Johnson|
Although Norm Foster will likely never win a Pulitzer Prize for his work, there's a reason why he's the most-produced playwright in Canada - and why Tipping Point Theatre in Northville has produced one of his shows in five of the last six seasons: because they're pretty damn funny.
Office Hours, Tipping Point's latest (which runs through Dec. 23), is also a treat for actors and directors who are up for an interesting challenge thanks to the play's not-so-typical structure. Rather than tell a single story from beginning to end, Office Hours features six seemingly unrelated tales set in six different offices scattered throughout an unnamed city. But be forewarned: Pay close attention to even the most irrelevant-sounding names and bits of dialogue, as they may become important plot points later in the show.
And that's what's so much fun about Foster's script: watching as he weaves his various threads into a connected whole, right down to the show's final moments.
Having a well-written script is one thing, of course, but it needs a sharp director and fine team of actors to successfully bring it to life. The performance I saw last weekend certainly proved that Foster's work was indeed in fine hands!
Beth Torrey, after having earned the distinction last season of directing Tipping Point's all-time top-selling play (Sexy Laundry), returned to work her comedic magic on Office Hours. And she assured its success by returning two longtime Tipping Point favorites to dominate the stage: Wayne David Parker and Ryan Carlson. Then she added to the mix Terry Heck (who earned a 2015 Wilde Award nomination for Tipping Point's Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike) and new-to-Tipping Point Sarah Hawkins Moan and Kyle Mitchell Johnson, and the result this past Saturday was a delightful evening of laughter.
Because half the fun (more or less) is experiencing the plot unfold for yourself with little or no knowledge of the plot beforehand, I won't say too much more about it. But the other half of the fun (more or less) is watching how each actor is called upon to create a handful of unique characters and how they keep them separate as the night progresses so the audience doesn't get confused with their every subsequent appearance. It ain't easy - but they sure make it look that way, with top-notch performances by the entire cast.
Bartley H. Bauer's set and Kellie Dugan's props work hand in hand defining each office with the simplest and quickest of changes.
The Bottom Line: Tipping Point Theatre consistently offers a quality and entertaining product to its customers, which is why it continues to be among the top producers of live theater in Southeast Michigan.
For complete information about Office Hours, CLICK HERE!
|Ryan Carlson and Sarah Hawkins Moan|