Christie Flynn as The Warden admonishes one of her charges; Izaic Yorks as
X-Ray looks on in the Lakewood Playhouse production of “Holes.” (Photo by Dean Lapin).
Lakewood Playhouse’s current production is Louis Sachar’s award winning play, “Holes.”
According to Director Naarah McDonald, “This story is more than a children’s story. It addresses issues of racism and offers a message of hope.”
On the surface, the play is about a young boy falsely accused of a crime for which he is sent to a correctional camp. However, as the play unfolds, with unique staging, which explores the boy’s ancestry, the audience experiences hopelessness and hope, greed and selflessness, bigotry and tolerance, hate and, most importantly, love.
It is the unrequited love experienced by Elya Yelnats that drove him to emigrate from Latvia to America in 1800. Here, Elya and his generations of male heirs all inherit his ill fortune due to a curse placed on Elya by a Latvian gypsy. It is young Stanley Yelnats IV upon whom the curse has descended at the start of our fantasy/comedic/drama.
With a near non-existent physical set, scene locations are visible through Scott Campbell’s imaginative lighting design. Those scenes include the correctional camp of today, the same area in the 1800s and to Latvia in the same period.
The eight detainees at Camp Green Lake head the cast of 20. These youthful wrongdoers include Henry Walker as our hero Stanley, Izaic Yorks as X-ray, Alex Domine as Armpit, Jonathan Hogue as Magnet, Lex Gernon as Zig Zag, Joseph Allegro as Zero, Hunter Larsen as Tough Kid and Joshua Dinwiddie as Barf Bag.
Each of these young thespians has done a fine job in defining his individual character and each one is totally different. They range from moronic Zig Zag to dominate X-ray, sullen Zero and finally companionate Stanley.
Christie Flynn plays the camp’s sadistic, treasure-hungry warden perfectly; venom literally drips from her fingers and lips. Scott C. Brown is wonderful as Mr. Sir, the equally sadistic sheriff. Blake York is the camp counselor, Mr. Pendanski. York easily handles the change from loving and helpful to the boys to the conniving tool of the warden.
Ronee Collins is 1800’s Kissing Kate Barlow and Jeff Brown is Sam. These two star-crossed lovers are at the heart of the story of love and racism, robbery and treasure. Collins is quite believable as the school marm turned robber and Brown is dynamic as the black traveling tinker who dares to fall in love with a white woman who dares to love him back.
Several of the cast play more than one part.
Aaron Rudd is equally good both as Stanley’s father and Elya, Stanley’s “no good, dirty, rotten, pig-stealing great-great grandfather” who is responsible for this whole mess. Mari Finch does a nice job as the cursing gypsy and Zero’s mother as does Sandra Billingsley as both Stanley’s Mom and Sarah, a girl from the 1800s.
Darrel Shepherd is wonderful as today’s policeman and the 1800’s villain. Valerie Jolibois does a good job as a policewoman of today, the object of Elya’s affections and the 1800’s villain’s wife.
Justin Carleton is good as the father of Elya’s love, Stanley’s sentencing judge and the attorney general who saves him. Toni Murray nicely plays 1800’s Mrs. Collingwood and Stanley’s attorney.
“Holes” continues at The Lakewood Playhouse in the northeast section of the Lakewood Towne Center, next to the Pierce Transit Depot, through November 11 each Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday matinees at 2 p.m.; there is also a Pay-What-You-Can performance scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, October 25 and an Actor’s Benefit matinee on Saturday, November 10 at 2 p.m.
For more information or to make reservations call the theatre at (253) 588-0042 or go online to www.lakewoodplayhouse.org.
“Holes” is an unusual play. The audience must remain alert to follow the story across the centuries. However, it is made easier to follow once you know that there is a past and present on stage concurrently. It is a play the whole family will like and, hopefully, the audience will leave the theatre with the whole message “Holes” offers.
Review by Lynn Geyer