NEVER TOO LATE FILLED
WITH LAUGHS & HEART
A REVIEW BY LARKIN
Never Too Late is the funniest play that your reviewer has seen in many a day at the Putnam County Playhouse. What's more, it is a cast of performers who mesh well with their characters
and with each other.
The author is Sumner Arthur Long. The play is a comedy written in three acts. Director Shelly McFadden has done it in two acts with only one intermission, but the play never misses a word.
The story tells of a husband and wife Harry Lambert (Jack Randall Earles), and Edith (Diana Callahan) and the surprise of their mid-fifties lives -- Edith is going to have a baby. Their only child, Kate Clinton (Shalynn Eckols) and her husband, Charlie
(Kenny Buchanan), live with them, and their lives are also turned upside down - and inside out.
Harry operates a lumber yard, which does very well for itself. Charlie works for Harry, but they don't like each other very well. Harry has a heavy hand with Charlie and everyone else he meets.
Harry reveals the checkbooks to Edith and she goes on spending spree. They start out agreeing to change wallpaper for their nursery (which has served as an extra bedroom). But Edith gets a new toilet, a new tub and a new floor, which she buys from Harry's competitor because, as she says, "Harry, they
were cheaper than you."
Dr. James Kimbrough (Jim Rambo), who pronounces Harry as fit as a fiddle, decides that Edith should rest for duration of her pregnancy. Kate becomes the scullery maid and full time cook, even though she, as Edith says, "....has never been domesticated."
Dr. Kimbrough's wife, Grace, is Edith's best friend and is full of advice at all times.
The town's Mayor Crane (Ric McFadden), drops over in the first act and has a big laugh as he teases Harry for being a mighty man.
At the end of the first act, Kate decides to become pregnant too, but Charlie objects. He isn't ready, he says. He wants to get their own house first. He doesn't have the money either. It seems Harry isn't exactly generous with his salary.
Edith follows Kate's example and expresses herself freely to her husband - resulting in hilarious consequences all around.
Charlie and Harry end up at a bar that night, and they are feeling no pain when they get home. They do a cha-cha together and decide that the toilet, which they have parked in the front room closet, needs go next door to the mayor's house.
The mayor, who has promised to build a road beside Harry's lumber yard, storms over to Harry's house and accused the two of storing their toilet right in his rose bushes. He says that Harry can forget about the road, and he leaves. The fight that follows is the showdown that Harry has wanted since Charlie moved into the house - but it's not quite what the boys planned.
Eventually Harry and Charlie to go upstairs to pass out. Edith panics and thinks Harry doesn't love her anymore. She leaves to head over to Grace's house. Callahan got applause on her exit in this tearful scene on the first Saturday evening.
At the end everything is fixed, but not without a bellyful of laughs.
Earles was more than excellent in this show. He hasn't been this funny in a show for some time, and his characterization fit the role to a tee.
Buchanan turned his roll into something we never expected -- he is a comedian par excellance.
Edith and Grace worked very well in their roles and friends. They were likable and it was obvious that they liked each other, too. Callahan and Hunter played their scenes with humor and truth.
Kate probably had the most difficult role of all, as she was supposed to be a loving wife for Charlie who turned into a shrew later on. Eckols was also excellent.
Ric McFadden played the mayor with a sharp edge.
Rambo and Dustin Bond were also good for their roles. Bond was really funny as Mr. Foley the contractor, but his words were hard to hear because of the construction going on in the background.
Shelly McFadden had a great cast, but she even made it better because of her directing skills.
The assistant director was Sandi Rossok, the stage manager was Morgan Davis. The production manager was T.J. Tincher, the technical director was Matt McClaine. The wardrobe mistress was Jamie Barrand the hair and makeup were done by Nikki Evans of the Styling Station.
The lighting design were by Shelly McFadden and McClaine, The set design was by Linda Gjesvold and costume design were by McFadden and Rossok.
The sound board was operated by McClaine, the light board was operated by Alix Green, and the stage crew was Tim Peyton.
Set construction were Linda Gjesvold, Buchanan, both McFaddens, Rambo, Rossok, Green and Callahan.