Published in Lansing Online News
The two-hour show, directed by Harlow Claggett, takes viewers into the world of “The Cloisters,” which is basically a loony bin in Massachusetts. Sorry there isn’t a nice way to say “crazy home.” While the five residents we are introduced to are in their “final stages of treatment,” Mrs. Ethel Savage (Eve Davidson) is just beginning hers, all thanks to her greedy stepchildren.
After her husband’s death, where she gained a large amount of money, she had hopes of starting a foundation in his honor, and getting to live out some of her dreams. Her stepchildren didn’t take lightly to that, which is how she ends up at a “sanitarium.” Beat you wish your kids were this awesome.
Ethel’s stepchildren are a stark contrast to her new friends and fellow residents. There’s Florence, Jeffrey (Greg Pratt), Mrs. Paddy (Jan Ross), Hannibal (Dave Sincox in an extremely warm and comforting role) and my favorite, Fairy May (Laura Croff Wheaton), but more on her in a minute. As eccentric as these five are they help Ethel in their own unique ways, and she does the same for this group of misfits. What plays out is a show that has a few surprising twist and turns, and one that earned a standing ovation.
Davidson plays Ethel with likeability, and more depth, than expected. She’s sassy and witty, but has a heart of gold, especially in regard to her newest housemates. Davidson is simply a treat to watch.
Now on to Wheaton. Within the first five minutes it’s made obvious why she was cast as Fairy May. She’s by far the most eccentric of the group, and that’s a compliment in every sense of the term. Wheaton has the movements of an antsy toddler, with her arms constantly moving around as she speaks and most of her stories are told with the excitement of a child. Giving credit to Patrick’s script Fairy May also gets some of the best zingers of the evening, all delivered by Wheaton with as much gusto and amusement as the last. A few personal favorites, “Ahhhhh, a queen of spades. Someone’s going to dieeeee,” and “This is so exciting. I wish we could open a door and have a body fail out.”
Linda Granger and Nancy Sisson’s costumes are a phenomenal touch, as is Paul Sisson’s set design. Both do great things for the show and the characters, with all the little details being an added bonus.