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Review: Penny for Your Thoughts at Richmond Hill

Are you looking for a light, pleasant comedy to get your mind off of the oppressive July temperatures? Then Richmond Hill Players has just the frosty, frothy show for you. Penny for Your Thoughts by Scott Haan and directed by Joe DePauw is a fun and light-hearted escape from the heat.

The program notes state: “Penny Ramsey is a young woman, who, like all of us, has different sides to her personality. These are personified in the story by comically stereotypical characters collectively known as The Egos…[they] make up her decision-making process which gets more complicated when Penny overhears only one side of her boyfriend Matt’s phone conversation and believes he has betrayed her. It’s a stressful time for Penny made even more confusing by the introduction of a potential new suitor named Rick and the nosey involvement of Penny’s mother (and Matt’s boss), Mrs. Killian.”

This play reminded me a bit of the recent Disney movie, “Inside Out” where we get a look at what’s going on inside someone’s head. In Penny’s case there are five personalities: a practical, no nonsense feminist, Jessica, a prissy, analytical nerd, Myrtle, an airhead Valley Girl, Buffy, a not terribly masculine male persona, Adam, and an overly cautious granny figure, Gertrude. And like “Inside Out” they all conspire with the intention to help Penny get through her heartache but actually only cause her more confusion complicating her dilemma even further.

Heading up this cast as the conflicted and distressed Penny is Leslie Day. This is Day’s third role in two years at RHP and handles the role well, especially because she has relatively long periods to fill while the Egos debate how Penny should act as the plot develops. As Penny’s hapless beau, Matt, and making his acting debut is David Shaffer and he does an excellent job as the nerdy, somewhat awkward boyfriend.

Portraying the five Egos are Cherry Wolf as Jessica, Elizabeth Hulsbrink as Myrtle, and Pam Kobre as Gertrude. While all three handle their roles well, the stand out in this trio is Hulsbrink whose vocal quality lends an extra edge to the character.

Remaining as Buffy and Adam are two very impressive teenagers, Laney Chandler and Aidan Leahy, respectively. Both are students at Davenport ’s Central High School and they are to be applauded not only for nailing their roles, but also for making what had to be numerous trips out to Geneseo to be in this show.

This was a challenging script for this venue’s small performance space. For most of the scenes six characters had to be accommodated which affected sight lines, but they met the challenge and staged a charming show.

Penny for Your Thoughts continues at Richmond Hill Players, 600 Robinson Drive in Geneseo, Thursday through Saturday, July 20 through 22 at 7:00 pm and Sunday, July 23 at 3:00 pm.

I’m Chris Hicks…break a leg.