by Jerry Palandino
CURTAIN 5 TheatreGROUP and Soap Co. Fine Arts & Film present Just a Book Club by Fresno Pacific University drama student, Jesse Parr. FIRST TRY, Parr’s previous work, opened the 2017 Season in January and played to full houses. Just a Book Club is our final production for 2017 and plays December 1-2 and 8-9 at 7:30 p.m. and December 3 and 10 at 2:00 p.m. on the Fresno Soap Co. Stage, 1470 North Van Ness Avenue in the Tower District. $12.00 advance tickets are available online at brownpapertickets.com, or at the door, $15.00 and $10.00 Students with ID. Just a Book Club marks the directorial debut of Maricella Puckett, Fresno Soap Co. House Manager and Venue Manager during the Rogue Festivals.
Likened to the drawing room mystery-dramas in the style of Agatha Christie, Just a Book Club begins innocently with four women attending their local book club being hosted in the home of Kimberly Middleton, whose husband, Jeff, recently passed away. She is joined by her very close friends, Penny and Julia, and Lily, a newly married young woman attending for first time.
Penny and Julia are doing their best to keep Kimberly’s spirits up, while ignoring what appears to them as their hostess’s odd behavior, as she keeps referring to her late husband as Jeffrey, when she’s always called him Jeff in the past. Knowing she is still grieving, they are careful not to upset her.
It is Lily who begins to understand what is really going on with Kimberly. Penny is suspicious of Lily, becomes increasingly defensive. Carefree Julia’s behavior, being four times divorced, is being harassed by husband number three, who wants her back. Julia is only intent on having another drink and having a good time. Julia and Kimberly feel Penny is needlessly being a worrisome busy body.
A series of events follow, as Penny and Lily’s bizarre behavior begins to unravel, while Kimberly feels Penny is overly reacting, and all Julia cares about is having another drink.
Oh, by the way, why is there a pistol in full view of the audience during the entire play?
This is a clever mystery-drama about what may or may not be happening. To reveal more of the goings-on will only spoil the surprise ending, so attend a performance of Just a Book Club and discover what really happens.
There is more to a book club than just books….or is there???
You can find more theatre articles, and other entertainment articles, in our Arts & Entertainment section.