Deep cast adds laughs to 'Wonder of the World'
Any competent performance of David Lindsay-Abaire's "Wonder of the World" would be an enjoyable comedy if it had Caitlin Losure in the lead role of Cass. But Renegade Comedy Theatre's production, now running at Teatro Zucconi, also offers an outs...
Any competent performance of David Lindsay-Abaire's "Wonder of the World" would be an enjoyable comedy if it had Caitlin Losure in the lead role of Cass. But Renegade Comedy Theatre's production, now running at Teatro Zucconi, also offers an outstanding supporting cast, making the show that much better.
Losure's Cass is a woman who feels her marriage has stifled her, but decides to leave only after discovering her husband has a secret sexual kink. She boards the first bus out of town to begin working her way down a list of things to do before she dies, a list that ranges from "Learn Swedish" to "Drive cross-country" to "Have sex with a bellhop."
Lindsay-Abaire, though, lades his script with other elements, such as irony: He gradually discloses how the characters' lives, unbeknownst to them, have intersected in the past. He also includes great lumps of absurdity: A woman is killed by a gigantic tub of peanut butter. The husband's sexual perversion is so preposterous that the most offensive thing about it is that anyone could have conceived of it. A marriage counselor arrives for a session in full clown regalia.
Losure is perfect as the effervescent Cass, other than a sometimes too-fast delivery of her lines, but it is the balance among Director Katy Helbacka's cast that maximizes the humor in the play.
As Lois, the sardonic, alcoholic seatmate Cass drafts as her "sidekick," Ashley Kuske is the perfect foil. At times, she can become the principal, with Cass as the foil. Kuske counterweighs Losure's intensity with a masterful slow take, employing an amazing range of facial expressions.
As the elderly private investigators hired by Cass's husband, Chani Ninneman and Andy Bennett are delightfully convincing as bickering long-marrieds bumbling their way through their first case.
"Wonder" is emphatically an actress' script, with the most-developed roles and best lines assigned to the women, but Pat Carroll as Cass's husband, Kip, and Evan Kelly as Captain Mike give their characters full due, and Bennett manages to filch even a bit more with some off-the-line mugging.
Paul Brissett is a Duluth writer and amateur actor who has appeared in numerous community theater productions.