JanLee Marshall leads a superb cast in B8’s production of David Lindsay-Abaire dark comedy, “Fuddy Meers.” The effervescent Marshall plays Claire, a psychogenic amnesiac who starts each day with no memory of her life. Every morning, her smart mouthed teenage son Kenny (Jack Isaacson-Brewster) and husband Richard (well played by the very funny Stephen Rexrode) must gently remind her of the woman she once was.
There are moments when the audience does not know whether to laugh or cry, but laughter is cathartic in this dark comedy full of zany characters who desperately try to forget (or hide) who they are as Claire struggles to remember.
Director Max Minton effectively uses the intimate B8 theatre space to meticulously orchestrate this fast paced farce. He excels in the task of creating an energetic production, full of insight into a kaleidoscope of Claire’s fractured life. The strikingly talented ensemble of actors immediately captures the audience’s attention for a chaotic ride that catapults them through the show at a tight, lightening quick speed.
I could not take my eyes off the mesmerizing David Ghilardi, as The Limping Man, a half-deaf, lisping, disfigured mysterious stranger who convinces Claire to take a road trip with him to her mother Gertie’s (Maureen-Theresa Williams ) home to find out who she is. Williams is phenomenally strong as a woman whose intentions are clear although she can’t quite put her words in order. They are accompanied by the dimwitted Millet (Terry Tracy) the hysterical potty-mouthed sidekick of the Limping Man and Heidi (Briel Pomerantz) a pushy police woman who is kidnapped by Claire’s family.
“Fuddy Meers” is a thoroughly madcap roller coaster ride that keeps you holding onto your seat as surprises hit at every twist and curve. For tickets to the final two performances, call 925-890-8877, visit b8theatre.org or visit the box office at 2292 Concord Blvd.
Kathryn G. McCarty is well-known around the Bay Area as an educator, playwright and journalist. Send comments by email to KGMcCarty@gmail.com.