Bumbling brothers bring laughs
Wolf River Theatrical Troup stages comedy
By Scott Bellile
Iris Renner can’t recall seeing a play that features a man running around dressed as a nun.
That image, she thinks, will put smiles on audiences’ faces when they come see the Wolf River Theatrical Troupe’s production of “Lie, Cheat and Genuflect” this week and next.
“It’s definitely something that people will laugh at,” she said. “I don’t think there’s a moment where it’s not a comedic moment. It’s a really funny play.”
Penned by William van Zandt and Jane Milmore, the comedy revolves around the Buckle brothers, Billy and Tom, who resort to a loan shark to help pay off a gambling debt. That misstep only creates more financial troubles.
Furthermore, the brothers suspect they will never see a penny of their Grandpa Buckle’s will. So to get their finances under control, they dress up Billy as a nun to pose as their cousin Lisa, who is set to inherit the entire fortune.
“So they kidnap her and after that it’s all a whirlwind of fun,” Iris Renner said.
“Lie, Cheat and Genuflect” is 19-year-old Iris Renner’s directorial debut. But the New London resident is familiar with the local theater scene. She and her brother have acted in plays for the Wolf River Theatrical Troupe, and her parents, Chris and Sandy, have directed productions for the troupe.
Iris Renner said she knew in auditions that Joel Perez was right for the role of Billy by his nun impression.
The experience of playing a nun has been fun, Perez said, even though his friends and family thought it was a goofy endeavor when he first told them.
“They were really confused at first, like, ‘What? OK?’” Perez recalled. “They think it’s really weird, but I think they all like it.”
The cast ranges in age from 16 to 70. This show’s cast unlike others is largely driven by millennials, Iris Renner said.
Maureen Fazen of New London, the 70-year-old cast member, has been involved with the theatrical troupe since 1983, before most of this play’s actors were born. She describes her character Virginia as “a sex-starved alcoholic maid,” a role she says is a blast to play with this young, “fun-loving” group.
“This is the first time I’ve worked primarily with younger cast members – I’m the oldest one,” she said. “It’s refreshing to work with younger cast members.”
Shows run from Thursday, Aug. 16 through Saturday, Aug. 18, and Thursday, Aug. 23 and Friday, Aug. 24 at Real Opportunities Outreach, 304 St. John’s Place, New London.
Tickets cost $15 each. They can be ordered by calling Judy McDaniel at 920-982-6060.
The cast is John Zhang (Tom), Joel Perez (Billy), Darrien Renner (Fryburger), Maureen Fazen (Virginia), Liza Trewin (Jane), Chloe Jandrt (Girl), Paul Theys (Pizza Face) and Carolyn Brent (Mackintosh).