Theater Review: “Almighty Bob”
Almighty Bob, a quirky comedy about love and faith that, takes place at an assisted living facility called Providence. Wrapping up on Feb. 5 at Chamberlayne Actor’s Theatre, the play first introduced us to Dr. Wally, played by Chris Yarbrough, and Colleen, a nurse played by Elisabeth Ashby. Dr. Wally is unlucky in love, an oafish, likeable character who’s just found out his beloved Providence is being shut down and turned into a Krispy Kreme franchise by the evil Mr. Carmichael, played by the brilliantly creepy Myja Thibault. Colleen and Wally are determined not to let Providence close without a fight, and plan to keep its impending shut-down a secret from its residents.
In spite of his trials and tribulations, Wally manages to keep his head high and even finds love with Karen, played by Donna Marie Miller. Karen is the daughter of a new arrival, the eccentric Bob, played by Will Vehrs. As soon as Bob arrives on the scene, strange things start to happen at Providence, and the audience soon finds out Bob is much more than he appears. Bob romances the charming Claire, played by Anne Carr Regan, who gives a stirring performance throughout highlighted by her brilliant performance in Providence’s annual talent show.
The plot is a little slow and hard to understand at first, but the characters definitely start to develop as they all form personal and individual relationships with Bob. Will Vehrs is a true scene stealer and saves this play and its actors from being mediocre. Vehrs’ performance is what made this show watchable and Myja Thibault, as the truly hate-able Mr. Carmichael, adds an element of satire to this production by being over the top, but not over-acting.
The set for Bob wasn’t as impressive as I have seen at CAT in previous performances, but the actors do a good job creating the illusion of several separate rooms while they are standing only several feet away from each other. The costumes were overall appropriate for the setting except for Karen, whose costume was reminiscent of Elaine from Seinfeld and felt very dated. The seating at CAT can be problematic and would recommend arriving early so you ensure you get a good view of the show and stage. This show was enjoyable and fun to watch and is part of the Acts of Faith theatre series currently happening in Richmond with several participating playhouses.
For the complete season at Chamberlayne Actor’s Theatre, visit http://www.cattheatre.com/.
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
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