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Theater Review

Send Me No Flowers
by Dottie Hughes, NSB Observer Special Report

NSB July 21, 2000 - A talented cast kept the audience in stitches at last Friday night's opening performance of the Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach's summer production of "Send Me No Flowers." This hilarious comedy by Norman Barasch and Carroll Moore centers around George Kimball, the king of hypochondriacs.

The play opens with George, played by Scott Hazard, obsessing about a pain in his chest and consulting his medical dictionary. He even daydreams about being in the hospital. His wife of 15 years, Judy,(portrayed by Debbie Dinkins) points out to him that he just had a checkup two weeks before. George responds that his physician, Dr. Morrissey, never tells him anything so he must diagnose his own medical condition. When Dr Morrissey, played by Dave O'Keeffe, stops by on his way out of town for a fishing weekend, George overhears him discussing another patient who is dying and mistakenly thinks he's talking about him. Certain his days are numbered, George fears Judy will not be able to make it on her own without him so he hatches an elaborate scheme for his future widow.

Hazard and Dinkins make a convincing husband and wife duo, playing well off each other. Hazard gives an excellent performance as the worrisome hypochondriac who accepts his fate. His acting experience shows as he delivers his lines with a deadpan expression, which makes the character even funnier. He has appeared at the Daytona Playhouse in "Hotbed Hotel" and in productions at Louisiana State University and with the City Park Players and in Louisiana.

Debbie Dinkins gives'an outstanding performance as the patient Judy who laughs off her husband's hypochondria. A talented actress, Dinkins has worked with Director Debi Laibe in other Little Theatre productions such as "The Odd Couple" (female version), "Critic's Choice," and 'Rumors." She also has appeared at the Daytona Playhouse and with the Riv@rtown Players in DeLand.

David O'Keeffe's acting experience is evident as he portrays to perfection the doctor who loves fishing but hates fish. O'Keeffe has appeared at the Little Theatre in "Death by Chocolate" as well as in many plays at the Daytona Playhouse and Shoestring Theatre. When Judy's former beau from her college days, Bert Power, played by Paul Dillon shows up handsome, fit and wealthy, George decides he would make a perfect second husband for Judy and arranges for them to go out alone on several occasions. George tells his next door neighbor, Arnold Nash, played by Mike Berish, about his plans and swears him to secrecy. Fortifying himself with Scotch, Arnold agrees to help him and even to deliver his eulogy.

Mike Berish gives a hilarious performance as the bumbling, drunken Arnold who bursts into tears at the drop of a hat over the thought of his friend's death. A good comedic actor, Mike has appeared in several Little Theatre productions, including, "God's Favorite," "Rumors," "Forty Carats" and others.

Paul Dillon gives a convincing performance as the affected and egotistical Bert Powers. Paul has previously appeared as Joe/Josephine in "The Amorous Ambassador" in March and is a welcome addition to the Little Theatre stage.

George writes a letter to Judy to be read after his death outlining his desire for her to remarry and instructions to destroy his Diners Club card after he's gone so it doesn't fall into the wrong hands. "I would not like to feel I'm

being charged for meals I haven't eaten." In an absolutely uproarious scene, George even buys a cemetery plot big enough for three - him, Judy and Bert!

Veteran actor Bob Niemyer steals the show as Mr. Akins, the salesman from Eternal Gardens, who sells George the triple plot on "nice high ground with a lovely view." His timing is perfect as he delivers -the snappy lines. A versatile actor, Niemyer has appeared on the Little Theatre stage for many years and has appeared professionally in summer stock and dinner theater as well as industrial film, radio & TV commercials. He is always a pleasure to see on stage.

One misunderstanding leads to another in this rib-tickling romp. Confused and suspicious as to why her husband wants her to date an ex-boyfriend, Judy accuses George of having an affair and wanting to get rid of her. George decides to tell Judy he's dying, and she takes control and schedules a trip to the Mayo Clinic to try and save him. When Dr. Morrissey returns from his fishing expedition and Judy confronts him, he informs her that George is not dying and will outlive everyone "unless he worries himself to death." After learning this, Judy is positive that George is having an affair and packs her bags. There are plenty more laughs and plot twists right up to the final curtain including another scene in which Arnold encourages George to confess to having an affair!

Tiffany Elizabeth Namey is convincing in dual roles as the provocative Baby with a wonderful New York accent and as Miss Mason, a call girl in the dream sequences. This talented youngster attends Winter Park High School and has performed in television commercials including Disney's summer jam concert series.

Young Meghan Clancy plays the second passerby in one of the dream sequences. She has appeared in The Christmas Past at church and Mice of Mozart and South Pacific at school.

Debi Laibe has done a fine job of directing this solid cast and bringing the characters to life. The transition between the dream sequences is skillfully handled without an interruption in the main story action. An active Little Theatre member, Debi appeared on stage in "The Premature Corpse" in May as well as many other productions. Her directing

experience includes "Opal Is A Diamond," "The Odd Couple" (female version), "Critic's Choice" and "Rumors."

Estie Keyes doubles as stage manager and production coordinator and handles a small role as the second passerby with ease. Steve Laibe is in charge of the lights and soundboard and Rose Dingas costumes.

Technical Director Bill Roehrbom has produced an outstanding set of the Kimball home with his set design, construction, and finish work. Set decorator Mary Monnier's attention to detail is evident in the final touches of this beautiful set.


Copyright 2000 the Little Theatre of New Smyrna Beach, Inc.