Aspirin and Elephants
Reviewed by Clyde Morrison
Aspirin and Elephants is an adult comedy about real people in a real situation. This play was put on by Pinewood Players, Inc. Les Maurseth directed his first play for the Players and did a superb job. He had some new actors and some experienced ones and put them into a fine performance of this comedy. His ideas for a simple stage setting and the easy switch from cruise stateroom to other staterooms by the lighting changes made the play move right along without dead time between scene changes.
The stars of the show were Joe and Gina Burton. They played an older couple who were taking their adult children on a cruise. Joe had many funny one-liners throughout the play and got the most out of them. He reminded me of Walter Matthau with his grouchy but lovable character with his voice and delivery. His stage wife (and real wife) Gina played his loving and understanding wife. My favorite scene for her was the time when she gave a monologue to her daughters, telling them a little history of her life with her husband. That almost brought a tear to this old reviewer’s eyes.
The two brand new actresses, Terry Brown and Elyse Webber, fit right in as their two daughters. Terry Brown’s Stephanie Gale was married to a successful, though controlling and thoughtless businessman. When she got her courage up in her talk with her father, the audience just wanted to stand up and cheer and say “Way to go girl. Right on.” Elyse Webber played the sexy daughter, Liz Nathan, who was also very successful but was married to a struggling author. She loved her husband and did not want him to feel bad because she was so capable in what she did, and he could not get any of his writing accepted. She was torn between accepting a new fantastic job and remaining a loving wife. Elyse was excellent in showing us that conflict.
The two sons-in-law also had difficult parts to play. Brian Cantrell was the unsuccessful writer (Arnie Nathan) who loved his wife’s abilities but he felt completely useless to her as her provider and helpmate. Scott Sustman, on the other hand, was a very successful businessman (Scott Gale) who could afford to keep his wife in furs and also keep a girlfriend happy. As a husband, though, he was a real bas – – ard. However, in the scene between the two men and later between Scott and his wife, he unburdened his true feelings. That was a complete reversal in his personality, but Scott was up to the challenge.
This reviewer was impressed by all six of the performers’ abilities in getting their characters across.