© 2024 WVIK
Listen at 90.3 FM and 98.3 FM in the Quad Cities, 95.9 FM in Dubuque, or on the WVIK app!
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Review: Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act

Main room at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing with Julie Gray, Carol Neuleib, David Beeson, and Terri Nelson.
Richmond Hill Players
Main room at the Sisters of Perpetual Sewing with Julie Gray, Carol Neuleib, David Beeson, and Terri Nelson.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines farce as: “a light dramatic composition marked by broadly satirical comedy and improbable plot; an empty or patently ridiculous act, proceeding or situation.

Richmond Hill Players’ current production of Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act by Tom Smith and directed by RHP’s long time veteran, Mike Skiles, fills that bill completely. In fact, I can’t think how it could be any more broadly satirical, improbable, empty, or ridiculous, which is likely the reason this script was chosen as RHP’s opener. It’s kind of like a comedian who warms up an audience just before a late night talk show host appears; this show is warming up RHP’s patrons for the rest of its season. No thinking required – just enjoy.

DH2 is a sequel to Smith’s original Drinking Habits script which was produced last year at this venue. Skiles has kindly recapped that show in his program notes for those who missed it and it has an equally ridiculous plot. The recap is also a godsend to explain the totally implausible character relationships. Secret vintners from the original play, Sisters Philamena and Augusta – who made wine in the last show to sell in order to save their convent from closing – now have their sites set on helping Paul and Kate, siblings raised in a nearby orphanage after the presumed death of their parents in a car accident, to save that very orphanage from also closing. This time they decide to put on a play to raise the needed funds.

Heading up this madcap cast and reprising their roles as Philamena and Augusta are Terri Nelson, and Carol Neuleib and they are by far the strongest performers in this production. Rounding out the cast as Mother Superior is Julie Gray, as Paul, a seminarian awaiting ordination, is Patrick Kelley, as Paul’s twice runaway bride, Sally, is Dana Skiles, as wannabe magician and parish pastor Father Chenille is David Beeson and as convent handyman, George, and his very-pregnant-with-twins wife, Kate, are Nathan Johnson and Elizabeth Shaffer. This cast ably delivers the broad humor via over the top exaggerated acting eliciting laughter from the audience and carrying the show, but…

I have to be honest. This script was not my cup of tea. As stated earlier, I can’t imagine how improbable and empty it could be. I looked up Smith’s résumé. It is impressive, so he appears to be capable of better. This isn’t to say there isn’t an audience out there for this show…surely there is. I just don’t get it.

Drinking Habits 2: Caught in the Act continues at Richmond Hill Players, 600 Robinson Drive in Geneseo Thursday through Saturday, April 27 through 29 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, April 30 at 3:00 pm.