Las Vegas Little Theatre’s current production of two one-acts — James McLure’s “Laundry and Bourbon” and “Lone Star” — is full of small pleasures.
“Laundry” gives us a peek at the lives of two women gabbing away on the back porch in mid-1970s Maynard, Texas. Elizabeth (Jamie Caravelli) worries about her straying husband, while Hattie (Melissa Cigainero) obsesses about the compromises she’s had to make in her life.
“Lone Star” is the flip side. We meet Elizabeth’s drunken husband, Roy (Brandon McLenahan), during a night on the town with brother Ray (Sam Craner). We find out what drives this man, and how much, despite his infidelities, he loves his wife.
These are not major scripts, but McLure has an ear for dialogue. It’s fun to hear these people talk. And director Jeremy Volsteadt well serves his cast.
Caravelli communicates Elizabeth’s kindness, saneness, and loneliness. It’s a full-bodied performance. Cigainero’s Hattie is robust, obnoxious and likably vulnerable. The actress knows how to milk a laugh. And Sam Craner inhabits the dim-witted, well-meaning Ray so thoroughly that you can’t imagine him playing any other role.
There are major problems. McLenahan is a strong, authoritative presence as Roy, and his talent is the reason I hope he’ll learn to better carry himself onstage. He lacks precision, using maybe half-a-dozen movements for what easily could be expressed by one.
Both plays are directed in favor of the central side of the house, which left two-thirds of the spectators virtually ignored. In “Lone Star” the actors habitually spill within a hair of the audience, which makes for many moments of wondering whether someone is going to get knocked out of his chair.
And both works begin to feel repetitive long before they’re over. That’s partly the fault of the scripts, but it might have helped if the director had better plotted the production’s rhythms.
But Volsteadt and cast nonetheless deliver enough dosages of charm, humor and poignancy to make a trip to the Fischer Black Box worthwhile.
Anthony Del Valle can be reached at DelValle@aol.com. You can write him c/o Las Vegas Review-Journal, P.O. Box 70, Las Vegas, NV 89125.REVIEW
What: “LAUNDRY AND BOURBON” AND “LONE STAR”
When: 8 P.M. THURSDAY-SATURDAY AND 2 P.M. SUNDAY
Where: LAS VEGAS LITTLE THEATRE, 3920 SCHIFF DRIVE
Tickets: $10-$12 (362-7996)