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WRP’s ‘House for Sale’ ‘warm, satisfying’ production

6/13/2013 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

Sid Freeman and Keri Lambert star in Western Reserve Playhouse’s “House for Sale.”
Photo: Michael Kermizis
BATH — Western Reserve Playhouse (WRP) is staging “House for Sale,” a new play by Old Fort resident Ron Hill.

This is the first of Hill’s plays to be published, and WRP is producing this intriguing new play. The 75-year-old Hill is working on four more plays at this time.

On opening night June 7, the small WRP theater was filled almost to capacity.

The story deals with Glen Martin (Sid Freeman) and Helen (Keri Lambert), his daughter. Glen is a spry, spirited senior citizen and is widowed, as his wife, Faye, died before the play starts. Helen argues he should sell his home and share a house with her and her husband.

Glen probably does need someone to take care of him to make sure he takes his medicines and that he doesn’t fall down the stairs or set the house on fire (he has had a few occasions of leaving something cooking in the kitchen and it catching on fire).

Max (Mike Groom) lives nearby and is Glen’s good friend. Yet, the two old men probably can’t look after each other.

Helen opens the play by bringing a local real estate agent, Mr. Goodsell (Walt Kaminski), to tour the house and, perhaps, to persuade her father to sell the house.

Glen doesn’t want to sell his home. The house is filled with too many memories for him to let it go.

In an effort to keep the house and please his daughter, Glen advertises for a housemate and schedules the five candidates to arrive for interviews at the same time. Chaos reigns supreme when the wanna-be housemates arrive and clamor for the one room that’s for rent. Glen isn’t prepared for the interviews and, in truth, probably doesn’t want a housemate.

The five candidates include The Apostle (Anthony Lindo), who wears a long robe and speaks in something resembling a religious language. Kate (April Needham) seems to be a cheerleader in her rah-rah speaking style. Chuck (Charles Leonard) is drunk at his entrance and doesn’t sober up during the scene. Fanny Moss (Patricia Walocho) plays a sexually aggressive woman, who has been married twice and suggests that Glen looks like her third husband. Sylvia (Annie Meyer-Steinheiser) is a foreign-born woman who wants to rent an inexpensive place.

Glen is a perfect curmudgeon. He disagrees, and with good reason, with his daughter, who is a curmudgeon-in-training. Helen has no qualities that make her sympathetic or appealing. Glen is disagreeable but charming.

The script would be more successful if one of the two leading characters was more understanding. Glen is difficult, but he has a right to be difficult, with his lifetime of memories filling the house.

Helen seems concerned only about her own convenience. If Glen moves to her house, she wouldn’t have to make the long trip to where he currently lives. (The playwright doesn’t reveal where any of the characters live and how far apart Helen and Glen live.)

Also, both acts of the play are too long. The playwright would do audiences a favor by trimming between 10 and 15 minutes from each act. 

However, “House for Sale” has warm, humorous moments that make the play satisfying.

“House for Sale” continues through June 22. For tickets, call 330-620-7314.


David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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