“Til BETH Do Us Part” comedic fun from the Pen Players Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin      Apr. 6th. ’19

A contemporary American couple; middle-aged and both career-oriented, have run into a snag. She’s over-worked and on-call 24/7 by her London boss; he’s a TV weatherman who procrastinates or just ignores doing his share of the household or stuff in the “Honey Do” jar. Sound familiar?
This old fart found the plot line way too close-to-home for comfort. I have excuses for NOT loading the dishwasher; claim poor eyesight for not seeing a need to dust or vacuum; and rely on dear Terry to make sure there’s always a full roll of T.P. in our bathrooms. I’m not lazy — just tired!

l-r Wouthuis; Miszturak; Nyman; Quirk; Toews & White of  “Til Beth Us Do Part”.

In our case, the muse picks up the slack; in ‘TIL BETH US DO PART’ Suzannah (Jennifer Toews) hires an industrious and well-organized assistant to keep house & job in running order. Her incorrigibly neglectful ‘Gibby’ finds that neat, clean and re-organized is disruptive and it’s with Mark Miszturak’s character that I immediately identified. The eponymous BETH is Leslie Nyman and if it weren’t for her industry and perfection, would probably be trying to fix her up with recent widowers we know. However, …
There is an ancient Chinese quotation about ‘Being Careful what you wish for’. In this case Beth has her own aims and agenda, just like Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction;, except her aim is asexual. The Haydens have a divorced couple Margo & Hank, as foils and supporters, philosophical as well as social. Deanna White & Richard Wouthuis are both perfectly suited to their character interpretations. She’s adorable; he’s cool and loving the bachelor scene. Director Paul Marshall seems to have allowed all five of these protagonists to enhance their portrayals with their own personal realities. Thus, there’s more of a fly-on-the-wall feeling about the comedy than just being an audience at a play. Every bit of stance; posture and especially timing seem unrehearsed and this is the mark of professional dramaturge. Toews demonstrates impatience without resorting to ham or histrionics; Miszturak has the knack of obtusely letting every kvetch his wife makes simply soar over his head. To go into detail about the White/Wouthuis interactions would be a spoiler…but suffice to state; they’re both delicious in their role interpretations.
As a Confederate ‘Johnny Reb’ in a previous antebellum existence; I did notice that Nyman’s Southern accent had one glaring drawback; she doesn’t d r a w l. Otherwise, the on-stage progress including an almost cameo contribution by Wendy Quirk, is positive and flows smoothly without any drag or dull moments of acting or discourse. The set by Sandra Bacon is functional and feels credible while spot lighting isolates dialogue without needing the disruption of a set change.
This effort epitomizes the reality that community Theatre puts as much effort into their presentations as does the mainstream, albeit the budget may be a lot less. The exertions of crew and detailing by the production folks is not only remarkable, it shows the same enthusiasm. And dedication.
Til Beth Do Us Part, is at the Peninsula Theatre’s stage – (Grimsby Trinity United Church ,Main St. just west of Christie) until April 14th. See it; enjoy it!

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