Comedy is the Art Center Theatre’s forte and they hit the jackpot with their production of “Love, Lies and the Doctor’s Dilemma,” by Michael and Susan Parker and directed by Larry Mitchell. What a great farce about the lengths one will go to protect the one you love!

As the old saying goes: “If at first you practice to deceive. ... you can find yourself struggling to find ways to spontaneously talk your way out of multiple dilemmas.” Identities and relationships brought about an extremely fine line between deception and truthfulness and the choices taken, providing comedic results for the amazing cast to portray.

Kudos, kudos to Pamela Schreck for her portrayal of the ultimate liar to end all liars. She was “spot on” with explaining away her love interest, Sandy the “gardener,” played superbly by Barry Denham.

Her decision to introduce Barry as her psychiatrist brought on one lie after another with the plot thickening deeper and deeper for Joan as each character appeared in their lives and they were coerced to aid in the comedic deceptions.

All the while, the couple’s marijuana (pot) brownies — with the necessary ingredient grown by gardener Sandy, turned psychiatrist — were a huge hit with Vinnie and the cast. Vinnie was played by Rex Young, who stole the show with his “country bumpkin” wit as the snooping investigator of the comings and goings at Joan and Sandy’s pad.

Marianne Leicht as Olivia St. Claire, the snooty, overbearing former movie star sister-in-law with her incessant “poor Joan, poor Joan,” captured her role with amazing believability.

Loren Kitchens as Chris, the son of Joan, gave Vinnie the “enforcer” a run for his money on his mission to bring him in for the debt he owed to the mobsters from a gambling spree.

With Olivia, a wealthy, self-centered person bent on making Joan feel inferior after the death of her husband, it was understandable that Joan dreamed up the “shrink” identity for her love, Sandy the gardener. Even Vinnie was given a new identity by Joan — the security guard!

When Sandy is coached to be believable in his role by saying “What do you think?” to his “patient,” they end up answering their own question over and again. Vinnie, ever the self-assured protector, assured Sandy as Doc the shrink, “Doc, if you need someone roughed up, I’m your man,” then grabs him and hugs and kisses him on both cheeks (“Godfather” style).

Holly Sherwood as Rachael, the next-door neighbor who falls for Chris in a big way, portrayed the star-struck fan of Olivia, the former star. Her spirited jumping about the room was like a cyclone had hit. She was in constant motion in scene after scene. What energy!

Continuous laughter occurred throughout the hall with one innuendo after another as the cast members were seeking the shrink’s advice, particularly when Sandy advises them concerning ways to enhance their sex life.

Pam’s facial expressions always win the awe of an audience with each role she portrays. Rex, as Vinnie, brought us uncontrollable laughter. Recalling the scene with Chris hiding from Vinnie under a blanket on the couch, with legs — not his own — sticking out the length of the sofa, was hilarious!

Ruth Levins participates in a variety of projects around the community. Let her know about your group’s upcoming activities by writing to P.O. Box 803, Crystal River, FL 34423.

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