Great cast, great directing, great fun at NAT's Over the Tavern

“Yes, S’ter.” The minute the phrase comes out of Rudy’s mouth, you know there are going to be consequences—perhaps a rap on the knuckles, detention, or something.

Surviving a Catholic education myself, you know proper pronunciation is imperative to human survival. Mitch Hollis is perfect as an endearing, humorous, Polish Catholic kid questioning his faith.

Set in the 1950s, some of the very tough issues facing youngsters of that era are brought to life, to tease or not to tease the hair. We all had those hurdles to jump with our parents, no matter when we grew up. “Annie,” played by Hilary Kathryn Halsted, did a great job of portraying a character we could all identify with. She is sweet, and you just want to tell her that she is going to be fine after all the growing pains.

“Eddie,” played by Steven Johnson, walks that dangerous line of whether to confront your father or leave well enough alone. I don’t want to give it away, but will say Johnson plays it superbly.

“Georgie,” played by Robbie Colletta, steals the laughs and serves as a great audience to Rudy’s act. Maria Barwegen, playing the mom, “Ellen,” returns to New American Theater after playing “Georgeanne” (my favorite character), in Five Women Wearing the Same Dress. David Kortemier plays “Chet,” the father. His reaction to Sister Clarissa is so true. Even though we may be separated by many years from our favorite nuns, we snap to attention in an instant when we cross paths once more.

As each character takes the stage, you feel as if you are right there in the living room, over Chet’s Tavern. The play is filled with laughter, family issues and is great entertainment. Bravo to director Tony Vezner. You have until Oct. 16 to see Tom Dudzick’s, Over the Tavern; reserve seats today by calling 964-6282.

Anne E. O’Keefe is executive director of the Rockford Area Arts Council.

From the Oct. 12-18, 2005, issue

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