|(front) Kandyce Hughes and Harold LeBoyer;|
(back) Chad Campbell, and Katherine Barnett
Photo by Clayton Corey
Click here for more information on this production that runs through August 27th.
"Full of nostalgia and good old-fashioned sensibilities, Tim Clue and Spike Manton's family comedy Leaving Iowa, receiving its Arizona debut at Fountain Hills Theater, is a charming, though overly long, amusing tale that centers around the pleasures, disappointments, humor and heartbreak of family road trips. This production features a talented cast that does well with the comical and poignant moments of the piece, but the play's repetitive nature and meandering tone make for a slightly long and bumpy ride....Dad, a teacher on summer break, is keen to load his wife, son and daughter up in the family car and set off on an unpredictable road trip full of adventure. However, his ideas of stopping off at a cemetery or the birthplace of Mark Twain aren't of much interest to his kids, who'd much rather visit their grandparents or stop at a motel with a pool. The play moves between these road trips and the present day where son Don,...wracked with guilt for missing both his father's retirement party as well as his funeral...sets off on an adventure of his own to find a place to sprinkle his father's ashes. ...While Clue and Manton have crafted a fairly endearing and entertaining piece that anyone who has ever gone on a hectic family road trip can easily relate to, the two-act play could easily be reduced by the authors by about 30 minutes into a 90-minute one act and have even more impact. As it currently exists, many of the scenes play out in a similar fashion to ones that have come before: the kids argue in the car, mom has to intercede, the father decides to stop off at some out of the way location where they meet a strange local resident while learning something about themselves in the process. ...fortunately director Ben Tyler has cast the show with a talented group of actors who, along with Tyler's direction, do a good job of keeping things moving along as fast as possible while letting the comic and more poignant moments resonate. Chad Campbell and Katherine Barnett portray Don and his sister at both preteen and adult ages. They both do quite well in playing the vastly different ages of their characters...Harold LeBoyer and Kandyce Hughes portray their parents. LeBoyer is good as the father..Hughes does very well as the woman who is stuck in the thankless job of trying to keep the peace and the family in balance. Karl Perry and Emily Spets are very funny as the various people the family meet on their journeys....While Leaving Iowa is not a perfect comedy it does have a nice message at its center: that the journey through life is more important, and often much more exciting, than the final destination. " -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)