Valley Business FRONT magazine
Friday, February 10, 2012

Written by Dan Smith, editor/co-founder of Valley Business FRONT magazine in his blog "fromtheeditr". Possibly NOT published in the magazine itself?

'Alabaster McGill' at Studio Roanoke Is Hilarious

Dan Smith

"The Emancipation of Alabaster McGill," Jeff Goode's comedy about prejudice is about as funny as anything I've seen at the theater in these parts in ages. It's playing at Studio Roanoke in downtown Roanoke.

If you want to see it, you'll need to hurry, since it runs only through Sunday. Get your tickets here.

Tonight's performance was sold out and I understand sales have been brisk for this one. My guess would be that this look at Southern culture on the skids is bringing in the locals (excepting Republicans, I'd bet) in droves. There are portions where it slows from its own comedic weight, but those would be easily trimmed in this premier.

Basically, what we have here is seven old boys sitting on a porch being rednecks. The delivery of actors like Ross Laguzza as something of a fallen preacher (and fallen is both literal and figurative here) and Brian O'Sullivan (whose face is made of rubber and who doesn't need to do much to bring a roar of laughter) give the play its heart and soul. This is a fine ensemble cast of local actors most of you will know: Simon Adkins, Michael Brickler, Stephen Glassbrenner, Owen Merrit and Blair Peyton. No women; just good ole boys who ain't so good.

Cheryl Snodgrass directed this piece with skill.

Most of the humor is predictable after the first few minutes, but the timing is good, the lines crisp and when Ross Laguzza is given time and space, he brings the house down. Even in the background, he's hilarious.

Catch it. A good laugh--especially a good political laugh--is hard to come by these days