Theater Review: “Catfish Moon”
“Catfish Moon.” Photo Credit: Chamberlayne Actors Theatre.
“Catfish Moon,” a play by Laddy Sartin and directed by Laurie Follmer, currently playing at Chamberlayne Actors Theatre, is a story about friendship, love, heartache, and fishing. Set in the Carolinas on an old fishing pier, the play centers around three friends: Frog, played by Chris Lacoss; Curley, played by Thomas Eichler; and Gordon played by Jim Barbour. Frog and Gordon grew up as close buddies, but as time carried on it is obvious their relationship has gotten consistently rocky, and when we meet them the responsibility has fallen on sensitive, no nonsense, Curley to act as peace-keeper.
While this production does have its almost funny moments, Sartin’s script is too simple and barely skims the surface of serious themes like alcoholism, deception, and death. While the three main characters feel familiar in a way, the script does not allow for the audience to connect to any one of them, even when they are faced with tragedy in the second act.
The actors do their best to make the play feel more substantial with Eichler’s Curley acting as the big-brother type for “frenemies” — Frog and Gordon. Lacoss, as Frog, does a good job of being on the verge of pissed off a majority of the time, keeping the audience guessing as to when he may just blow his top. Barbour’s Gordon felt a little unnatural and uncomfortable at times and Barbour was more convincing playing an inebriated Gordon than a sober one. Curley’s sister Betty, played by Abigail Davis-Hess, is likable and Davis-Hess does her best to make her character relatable, but as with most of the characters in this play Betty is written as completely one dimensional.
The set, designed by Lin Heath, was impressive: an old broken down fishing pier with nice touches like little lights under the stage that can only be seen in between scenes that create the illusion of starlight reflecting in the water. The height of the stage also made for easy viewing by the audience.
“Moon” is a very short hour and a half and is CAT’s last offering of the 2011-2012 season, but it was unfortunately not the best choice of material to go out on. I look forward to seeing what CAT will do in the future.
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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