Theater Review: Pec Playhouse’s Fuddy Meers a puzzle to be solved

By Edith McCauley
Theater Critic

The program for the play at Pec Playhouse is centered with a kaleidoscope of cast members. It represents perfectly the convoluted plot and the characters whose identities seem to change at a moment’s notice. Laura Wiegert directs the puzzling production, and if you like to solve mysteries, this is the play for you.

The first work of David Lindsay-Abaire, it seems to be the product of a young dreamer. It would be interesting to discover what so attracted the company to this particular play. Wiegert cast Fuddy Meers well. The theme of erratic behavior is displayed by all.

Opening with Claire’s (Laura Keyes) awakening by her husband, Richard (Glen Wiegert), we discover her chronic amnesia. Much like Groundhog Day, there is no memory of the previous day. It is all completely new. Putting on her fuzzy duck slippers, her costume is complete for the entire show. She finds that she has a son, Kenny (Josh Griffen). There are few vulgar expressions that are not a part of his vocabulary. Identified as dyslexic, his language does not seem deficient. In short order, Claire is kidnapped by a mysterious stranger, limping and badly scarred (Tom Dotson). Now the plot gets complicated.

James Castree is Millet, although his real identity seems to be that of a large hand puppet, Hinky Binky, whose personality can be extremely abusive. Rosemary Million is Gertie, Claire’s mother. Having suffered a stroke, every syllable of her speech is reversed, a bit like pig latin. Suzanne Wiegert is Heidi, a state policeman, but that identity changes quickly. By the end of Act I, the question was asked, “What happens next?”

Well, it just gets more complicated and a bit more interesting. We finally discover what Fuddy Meers means. In the language of stroke victim Gertie, it refers to the experience her daughter and deceased son had at the fair. While in the “Fun House,” they saw the weird reflections of themselves in a distorted mirror…Funny… Fuzzy Mirror… The theme emerges… life is a complete distortion.

Definitely not for children, Fuddy Meers requires an audience who can pay attention to details. Playing through Feb. 27, ticket information can be had by calling (815) 239-1210. They are now computerized, so be patient.

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