Last night I went to see The Nerd at MSU's Summer Circle.
While Larry Shue's script is a little bit dated, it's still quite fun. He has some delightful lines and the situation itself is pretty funny--especially with the twists that he throws in at the end.
It helped that the weather was beautiful last night. It was warm, but not stifling and the fireflies came out to add a little outdoor magic to the production. There was also a birthday party of 11-year-olds (or, at least, the birthday girl was turning 11) who came and sat in the front. They all wore matching pink tank tops. What a fantastic idea for a birthday party--to take the girls out to free outdoor theater. They did become a little bored with the play, but there was plenty of room for them to go play games on the nearby grassy lawn.
This was primarily a student production, directed by Lorijean Nichols who had earlier directed the wonderful Expecting Isobel. It was a very competently done, entertaining show--a nice way to spend an evening. It was very clear that Daryl Thompson, who played Waldgrave, has professional outdoor acting experience as he was the most comfortable in his performance. He had the best vocal quality and was hilarious to watch. Some of the other actors struggled with finding the appropriate volume levels, though they were audible for most of the performance.
The chemistry between Tansy and Willum could have been stronger. I didn't really believe that they cared much for each other--certainly not enough to end up in each other's arms every time Axle left the room.
Rick Stedman reminded me most of Junie B. Jones.
Molly Taggert displayed wonderful physicality as the hunched, inoffensive but tightly wound school teacher.
It's easy to see why Summer Circle has been so popular through the decades. It's an enjoyable way to spend an evening.