By Lucas Crabtree
Jerry Hickey, in his first work – THE MASCOT – creates a hilarious and outrageous tale of a boy trying to live up to his father’s dreams. We open with Darby (Matt Rapport) and Astrid (Jen Mays), a successful couple living in Indiana tending to their infant son, Knute (Sam Cordes). It is here we learn of Darby’s intentions for his heir to become the sacred leprechaun mascot at the University of Notre Dame, where Darby studied. Fast forward 18 years and Knute is prepared to go to his dream school in California. Through his father’s cunning prowess, Knute ends up at Notre Dame instead, but Knute has a plan and antics ensue. Throughout, this show offers witty wordplay, slapstick shenanigans, and crude innuendos.
At first, I was suspicious of the production as the nature of the set was minimalistic, completed with an illustrated backdrop provided by a projector. The show opens with cheesy puns and over the top acting. However, as it progresses, one understands this is precisely the point. There is a specific, cartoon-ish, satire here, which the actors perform adeptly. It is clear that the playwright’s vision was achieved as the writing is perfectly executed by director Peter Zazzali and the cast to construct an entertaining and genuinely humorous production.
Perfect comic timing and physicality can be challenging. Enter Dooley, the highlight of the show. Played by R.H. Wilhoit, Dooley is paired with Knute as a roommate at Notre Dame. Obsessed with claiming the role of mascot for himself, we see Dooley and his sizable personality getting him into rather precarious positions. Wilhoit executes sublimely, through impeccable vocal inflections and physical stunts. While the cast is excellent overall, Wilhoit’s performance as Dooley is in the spotlight.
THE MASCOT is solid from beginning to end. The show contains plenty of vulgar language and sexual innuendos. If this were a film, it would certainly be rated R. Keep the kids at home, but don’t miss Hickey’s first foray into playwrighting, which has forged an amusing comedy which is successful on many levels. Smartly written and masterfully performed, THE MASCOT hits all the right marks.
THE MASCOT plays at The Living Room Theatre through April 29. More info at themascotplay.com.