PORT ORCHARD —The play “Exit Laughing,” directed by Denise ‘Neicie’ Packer, opens at at the Western Washington Center for the Arts in downtown Port Orchard on Aug. 10 at 7:30 p.m.
“Exit Laughing” will run each weekend, Friday-Sunday, from Aug. 10-Sept. 2. The Friday and Saturday showings start at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday showings will start at 5 p.m. except for the final showing on Sept. 2, which will start at 3 p.m.
The basic synopsis of the play is that a close group of four friends unfortunately become three when one of their members dies. The night after the funeral, the three remaining friends gather together to have their weekly card game and mourn together. Things get crazy when one of the members “borrows” the dead friend’s ashes and certain surprises occur throughout the night planned by the deceased.
I had the privilege of watching this play at the director’s viewing on Aug. 6 and it did not disappoint in its hilarity and also heart-wrenching moments.
The cast of four talented women and a young man obviously have spent time building relationships with each other to truly bring the aura of close friends on to the stage.
As the story unfolded, this play didn’t feel like a play. It felt as if you were sitting in a window looking in on the scene as it happened, verses just acting.
The characters were believable. Each of the five were unique in their own way, but each obviously cared for the deceased. The actors did well in making them relatable, from the stern but caring Connie (Diana George), the fun-loving and heavy-drinking Leona (Laura Lingle) to the ditsy but lovable Millie (Shannon Mahan).
The cast had a strong presence and worked well off each other. There was a slight lighting malfunction where all the lights went out on stage, but the actors handled it in stride and didn’t break character. A little in-character improv ensued but what should’ve been a drawback to the play honestly was handled well by the team and just added to the comedy.
The play was a phenomenal mix of happy, sad, funny and melancholy. I highly recommend this show to anyone over the age of 13 to fully appreciate the jokes and gags that happen. The cost per ticket is $18 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and military.