“A cop in the country has a thousand problems,” quips small town dick Inspector Levine (Stan Rosen). But the problem at the center of genre-defying mystery “Catch Me if You Can,” is one missing woman. What seems like a straightforward missing person takes on a whole new dimension when a woman shows up saying she’s no longer missing, but her husband doesn’t recognize her. Things only get more complicated when more people start showing up at their door; who is friend? Foe? What are they playing at?
Director Ed Starr has put together a fine production of a challenging piece of theatre.
The Montgomery Playhouse continues its 90th anniversary season with this play, which should not be confused with the musical adaptation of the 2002 Leonardo DiCaprio/ Tom Hanks film.
Daniel Corban (J. Christopher Penick), an ad man from Detroit, is on his honeymoon, utilizing his boss’s cabin in the Catskills, when him and the new misses get into a nasty argument. She storms off in anger, and when she hasn’t returned after several days, Corban enlists the help of Levine. Things look up when Elizabeth Corban (Anne Vandercook) arrives back at the house; except Corban insists this woman is not his wife. Things are compounded first with the arrival of local priest Father Kelleher (Mark Shullenbarger), followed in turn by sandwich shop owner Sydney (Marc Rehr), the cabin’s owner and Corban’s boss Everett Parker (David Robinson), and his lithe companion (Corrie Bolcik). At every turn, Corban questions the motives of these people and his very sanity. As the tension builds, the audience is kept guessing until the very end, with lots of twists and turns along the way.
Director Ed Starr has put together a fine production of a challenging piece of theatre. This show is part “take my wife, please” 1960’s comedy, one part Agatha Christie mystery, which is an incredibly delicate balance. Starr has guided his actors to a performance that navigates this balance admirably. Both laughs and chills abound.
Penick anchors the piece well, starting as an affable enough fellow and descending into increasing distress as the events of the show unfold. The audience shares his consternation as more people seem to be involved in a plot against him that he does not understand. Rosen inspires many of the laughs as the long suffering Levine, whose exasperation with Corban only grows. Vandercook is very effective as the woman who precipitates the events; her performance is so effective that the audience truly questions if she is the real Elizabeth and sews seeds of doubt that perhaps Corban really is losing his grip on reality. To say which here would be a disservice to this show- you’ll just have to see it for yourself to find out the truth.
The supporting cast was also strong. Shullenbarger garners similar praise to Vandercook in that it is indiscernible whether he is simply a clergyman checking in on someone in the neighborhood, or something much more sinister. Rehr is incredibly charming and highly comedic as the sandwich man Sidney; he provided some great laughs, but also heightened the drama. Robinson and Bolcik also help to bring the situation to a head, as the story barrels toward it’s shocking conclusion.
The set is also expertly crafted; since all of the action of the play takes place in the living room of the vacation cabin, it needs to be richly fleshed out. David Jones’ design and Kay Coupe’s set dressing made the set feel like a fully realized space. Overall, this was a lively and engaging production that captivated the attention of the audience from beginning to end.
Running Time: A
Advisory: This show utilizes gun shot effects. Due to some simulated violence and adult themes, this show is recommended for audiences 14 and older.
“Catch Me if You Can” is playing now through January 20th at the Gaithersburg Arts Barn. For more information on tickets, please click here.