[Board member Andrew Mayle graciously offered to review the Bobcat Players' sold out opening night performance of Barbara Pease Weber's Foolish Fishgirls and the Pearl.]
Having not known too much about mermaid folklore, I was a little concerned going into tonight’s performance. To my delight, the Bobcat Players, yet again, presented an adventurous tale that was both informative and delightful. From the beautiful and intricate design of the set, to the impressive and flawless performances by the actors, I left the show with the knowledge that mermaids, like us all, have discovered that love comes in the most unexpected forms.
Since I have personally worked with Shelly Cary before, I knew what to expect walking in to this show. Time and time again, she has never failed to impress me with her directing skills and Foolish Fishgirls... was no different. Even with some unexpected difficulties encountered with rehearsals and the many other responsibilities she has in her own life, Cary was still able to keep the cast and crew united, persevering through it all and presenting a magnificent piece of art. I can safely say that this show is one of her masterpieces and I truly hope she continues to direct for years to come.
First appearing on the stage tonight was Kathleen Regan playing Coral. Right away, her character had me giggling at the sassy and snarky remarks about life that we can all relate to. Under her leadership and quick-wittedness, her character moved through the show “swimmingly” and gracefully. Regan’s performance leaves me hopeful that I will see her in many more shows for the Bobcats.
Dave Neuhart’s portrayal of Floyd as the loveable grump was another highlight of the show. Unlike Kathleen, I have seen Dave on the stage before and his performance tonight was unlike any other. Floyd starts the show off being a little bitter because of the cold weather and high gas prices at the time (Weren’t we all?), but as the play progressed, everyone warmed up to him. His story throughout the play is heart-warming and comical.
Patti Ross as Oceana may have the most comical background story of all the characters in the show, as you will find out by watching her performance. Being one of the leading ladies, I was really excited to see her spin on the life of a mermaid. Oceana was the calming voice of reason amongst the mermaids, which made her clash well with Coral. Performing with Patti in the past, I can honestly say that all of her characters have always stood out from everyone else, no matter how big or small the part, and tonight was no different. Patti made Oceana shine on stage with another strong performance.
For the snobby and ego-filled character of Marina, Mace Porac performed this character wonderfully. The talent of Porac becomes apparent when Marina first comes out on stage. Right away, we all thought of that annoying know-it-all person in our lives. Porac should be commended, because although Marina has some flawed qualities, she makes you smile at the same time, and this makes her impossible to dislike.
The character of Sheila, played by newcomer Jenn Rian, was a delightful addition to the story. Rian’s portrayal of this character was masterful. A comedic “Jackie of all trades,” Sheila works about 20 different jobs before the week is done. It is obvious that Rian’s spin on her character can create an understanding for anyone out there who feels that if you want something done right, you’ve got to do it yourself.
Jovanna Valladares plays the mermaid, Pearl. Although she has no speaking parts in the play, actions speak louder than words. Valladares’ top notch acting is noticeable when other characters may be talking during a scene, but your focus is on her and her silly, innocent, antics. Pearl is a beautiful maiden of the sea and no one could have brought her beauty out more than Jovanna.
Mike Prest takes the role of Nathan, the young rescued sailor who falls in love with Pearl. Mike is a veteran actor with the Bobcats and delivers yet another stellar performance. It is not easy to convince yourself that being in love with a mermaid is perfectly natural, but Prest portrays a man who thinks with his heart, not with his mind, tugging at all our heart strings. To be able to convince an audience that you are in love with someone on stage is no easy task, but when Nathan and Pearl are together, it is very believable. Bravo!
Last but not least, Casey Novak’s guidance as Assistant Director in the development of this fantastic play cannot go unnoticed. Juggling between work, acting, directing, attending board meetings, and writing this blog, I don’t know how she does it. Some people just have the natural talents of multi-tasking, yet you wouldn’t notice with her. Everything she works on is with all her heart and Fishgirls is clear evidence of it.
[Tickets are still available for the remaining performances of Foolish Fishgirls and the Pearl, July 20-22. You can purchase at The Hostess Shoppe in Beaver or online. Tickets can also be reserved by calling our box office at (724) 494-1680. There are three more chances to see this show, with all performances beginning at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 and all seats are general admission.]