The Shawnee Theatre’s second production of the season is John Patrick’s comedy “Everybody Loves Opal.” Except for Linda Charbonneau, who played Opal, almost all of the cast appeared in the season opener, “Noises Off.” Joel David Santner who played the director in “Noises Off” is the real director for “…Opal.”
John Patrick’s play is a comedy in which a trio of misfit thieves insure Opal and then plot to kill her for the insurance. Gloria played by April Pletcher arranges to have part of the ceiling fall on Opal. Mark Brouwer as Solomon plans to run her over with his car. Bradford played by Travis Beaty opts for knock out drops and then a house fire. Each fails and somehow becomes Opal’s apparent savior.
Throughout Opal simply sails along with her life as a junk-collecting scavenger. Opal is more than a bit of a Pollyanna, but the character in the hands of Linda Charbonneau has real heft, variety and depth to it. Though Opal appears to be a good hearted simpleton who simply can’t think badly of people, she’s a lot more canny than any of the sharpies think she is.
On opening night Mark Brouwer was the outstanding thief, his plastic face and elastic body reflecting every development and change of mood. Equaling him in dramatic though briefer impact was Alan Craig as the local police officer.
There’s a good deal of fun in “Everybody Loves Opal” as the various plots misfire and their perpetrators come to appreciate Opal’s warmth, luck and sagacity. In the finale Opal not only outfoxes the assassins to protect herself, she turns things completely inside out as she outfoxes the police to protect the assassins.
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The Shawnee Theatre’s production of John Patrick’s comedy, “Everybody Loves Opal,” will be performed Friday and Saturday nights at eight and Sunday at two.