by Lorie Lewis Ham
This past weekend The Curious Savage opened in Hanford, presented by the Kings Players, and I had the pleasure of seeing it. It was a nice change of pace after all of the musicals I’ve seen lately to catch a straight play, and this one was a perfect blend of comedy and drama.
In Curious Savage we are introduced to an interesting group of characters who live in a sanitarium for various reasons—most of which deal with their inability to cope with the reality of their lives. Brought into the mix is a wealthy widow named Ethel Savage who is taken there by her stepchildren who think since the death of their father she has been acting foolishly and spending the family money too recklessly. Throughout the play, Ethel schemes to try and escape, as she also gets to know the delightful residents of the sanitarium. At one point, we learn that somewhere she has hidden 10 million dollars, which her stepchildren will do anything to get their hands on.
This play is set in, and was first produced in, the 1950s. According to show director Henry Gonzales, this is one of many shows the company has done written by John Patrick. “Our audiences really respond to the classic comedies,” said Henry.
Wyleen Luoma who plays Ethel Savage, and Natashia Da Cunha, who plays a patient named Fairy May, were absolutely wonderful! I also saw Natashia in the Kings Players production of The Graduate and she is quickly becoming a favorite of mine. Everyone in this show did a great job of providing the audience not only with lots of laughter, but some beautiful drama and food for thought as well. The end is very moving but I don’t want to give it away. I will say that there were moments when I was almost in tears. I’ve also been involved in enough theatre now to know that a good director makes a huge difference in the quality of the show so hats off to Henry Gonzales for a great job too! This was definitely an enjoyable night at the theatre and I highly recommend it.
If you enjoy shows that not only provide fun comedy, but also some touching drama, don’t miss The Curious Savage on stage through March 25 at the Temple Theater in Hanford. For more information on dates, times and tickets visit the Kings Players website. To learn more about the Kings Players, check out KRL’s article on their history.