Okay, you get a call that some guy who saved your life is coming to visit you. You’ve never met the fellow; you just know you owe him your life and you have committed your all to him.
So, the guy shows up and & you got it & he’s a nerd. No, he’s the nerd to end all nerds!
A thoroughly excruciating problem for our hero becomes one continuing laugh for the audience at Pierce College Theatre’s current production of Larry Shue’s “The Nerd.”
Director Fred Metzger says that this is one of the funniest casts he’s worked with. “They just make me laugh,” Metzger said, “on and off stage.”
After spending a couple of hours vacillating from titters to guffaws, I agree with Metzger. For the most part, this is a funny cast.
There are a couple of more down-to-reality characters. Our hero, Willum Cubbert, nicely played by Tom Lees, is one of the saner cast members & at least in the beginning. Katie Wheeler is his girl friend, Tansy McGinnis, and Westley Wolford is his best buddy, Axel Hammond. Both do a nice joy of ordinary people resorting to un-ordinary things to help rid Willum of his curse.
Steve Casowitz plays Willum’s client Warnock Waldgrave as an over-the-top Al Pacino doing a bad impersonation of Jimmy Cagney. Carmen Cortazar is his wife Cleilia. She is completely sane as she explains, “I & work & with & slow & learn & ers” and that she has the urgent need to break things when she is frustrated. This show has a big china budget.
That leaves the two best members of the cast, Selia Cortazar as the Waldgrave’s seven-year-old daughter Maria and Blake R. York as our Nerd, Rick Steadman.
To say that Cortazar, the younger, is a natural talent is an understatement. Of course, the fact that she is seven years old may have a great deal to do with the excellence of her characterization, but one can see a blossoming actor hiding behind those beautiful, long braids.
All said, York really steals the show, even from his child co-cast member.
York is so fluid in the role that it is difficult to separate the actor from the character. This young man’s comic timing is perfect; his movements are mercury in motion.
“The Nerd” is a funny show with an oddly twisted ending. It is over almost too quickly to really absorb the meaning of the final few unexpected moments & stay alert.
Metzger designed the set and lights as well as directed the show. This is not one of his better sets. In fact, it seems a bit ordinary and does not equate to his great talent for set design. That said, one could say that it does go with the type of show it is. I found the pre-show music too loud for comfort, but this is a slight inconvenience considering the otherwise very enjoyable evening of fun and frivolity.
“The Nerd” continues at the Pierce College Theatre at 9401 Farwest Drive, S.W., just south of Steilacoom Blvd. at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, November 17 and 18 and at 10 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, November 15 and 16.
Reservations may be made by calling (253) 965-6710. General admission is $7; $2 for students and seniors, a very small price to pay for such a humorous evening.
Reviewed by Lynn Geyer