Brittany Pierce-Caiazza’s Review of Exit Laughing

County Players

The Falls Theater

Wappingers Falls

February 2, 2019

Enter Laughing, Stay Laughing, Exit Laughing

         The old adage claims that laughter is the best medicine. Well, if that is true, the audiences of County Players’ Exit Laughing will be warding off disease for many months to come.

Exit Laughing, toted as “The Golden Girls meet Steel Magnolias,” is a quirky comedy by Paul Elliott. It centers around three friends, four if you count the absent Mary, gathering for their usual night of playing bridge. Toss in theft, a failed date, an unexpected visitor, and a LOT of booze, and you have the makings for a sure-fire hit. Michael J. Frohnhoefer has assembled a stellar cast and, in my humble opinion, created one of the best productions I have seen at County Players. The set is simple yet completely functional, the costumes are practical for the piece (and a little sassy during curtain call), and the performers are polished. Kudos to Frohnhoefer and his production crew.

The cast of this particular production is a tour de force. Leading the charge is Kit Colbourn as Connie Harland, the supposed voice of reason through much of the piece. Her timing is impeccable and everything about her performance is authentic. The interactions Colbourn has with the other women in the cast, especially her daughter, are realistic and engaging. As Rachel Ann, the angsty college student who is failing miserably at having a social life, Leigherin Jass is completely believable.  I never doubted for one moment that she was wrestling with her emotions, and I was completely on her side when it came to her interactions with her mother. Colbourn and Jass present a true-to-life mother-daughter relationship with such beauty that it is hard to believe they are not actually related.

As Leona, the feistiest of the ladies, Anna Marie Paolercio is sarcastic, bawdy, and just plain enjoyable. She commits to everything her character is saying and doing, and the audience can’t help but love her. Her comic timing is fabulous, and the moments between Paolercio and Donna Conway (Millie) are some of the best in the show. As the sole male in the production, Vincent Granata makes his debut as Bobby/Policeman, and all I can say is that this guy is BANANAS! For a first-timer, he is a joy to watch, and I’m sure that he will be gracing stages throughout Orange County and beyond in the future.

This cast is such a strong ensemble that for there to be a “shining star” one would have to steal the show. And Donna Conway, as Millie, does just that. Conway has been absent from the stage for almost 20 years, but she never misses a beat. Her comic timing is amazing, her dedication to her character is inspiring, and her ability to not break said character despite the absolutely hysterical things that are coming out of her mouth is awe-inspiring. She could not have done this alone, and while she may be the standout for the reasons above, she would be unable to do any of that successfully without the rest of the cast to play off. Truly, truly, this cast deserves all of the accolades anyone can offer them. They clearly enjoy working together and it is so apparent that they trust and respect each other on stage.

Rarely do I tell people to get up and go see a show, but DO THAT! Get your tickets for this show because it is not one you will want to miss. Thank you all for a fabulous night at the theater. I literally exited laughing.

Exit Laughing, presented by County Players, is playing at the Falls Theater in Wappingers Falls through February 16th. Tickets and information are available by calling the box office at 845-298-1491 or http://countyplayers.org/        

        

 

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