Colonial Playhouse’s MR. 80% Goes Straight to the Funny Bone!

by Lisa Panzer

Mike Winterode and JP Timlin star in the Colonial Playhouse production of MR 80%, running in Aldan PA through September 24.

MR. 80% is 100% percent enjoyable, well stocked with talent and perfect for an evening of delightful entertainment! 

Sharon (Kimberly Williams), a lovely lady lawyer with a past chock full of failed relationships, and Patricia (Sam Barrett), a grumpy sleep deprived medical resident, are looking for an additional roomate to supplement their NYC apartment rent. These high-powered career women are disgusted with men, so their sublet ad stipulates, “ROOMATE WANTED. MUST BE EITHER FEMALE OR GAY MALE”. Enter Sam (Mike Winterode), and Jan (JP Timlin), a comedy team who pretend to be a gay couple for the sake of cheap rent. And what a true comedy duo Winterode and Timlin turn out to be in terms of slapstick, sight gags, comedic timing and chemistry (not to mention Mr. Timlin’s “brief” appearance tiny costume in the second act – a must see). They succeed in fooling the women, but love makes fools of them as well… Sharon’s lovable and wise gay male friend Leslie (Jon Brunke) catches on to Sam, but allows the charade to continue. Jan almost succeeds in blowing the comedy couple’s cover when he brings home sexy eccentric Ronnie (Donna Dougherty) late one night, yet they still manage to recover their ruse. For a time. 

Even during the show’s slower segments, when feelings are expressed or love is being professed, there are no dull moments. This cast has it covered from facial expression to farce. The reactions and interactions between the cast members are in tune and the characters are well portrayed. Williams’ range is wide, she can go from happy to hot-tempered in seconds, and Barrett does grumpy well and delivers her zingers with a ‘punch’. Good straight comediennes (no pun intended!) for Winterode and Timlin to play off of throughout the show. The snips and snipes exchanged between Jan and Patricia are particularly noteworthy, for example: Jan to Patricia: “Being with you could be like the Fourth of July.” Patricia to Sam: “Yeah, being with you can be like Labor Day.” Brunke gives Leslie a strong character, one that is well able to contend with Sam and Jan. He is adorable, but not one to be fooled. Dougherty imbues Ronnie with a combination of cool and kookie. Not JUST a bimbo, Ronnie is a bit of a surprise as she brings some eclectic knowledge into the group that actually seems to makes a dent in the situation. 

Scene changes that appeared to go smoothly (Erin Van Bremen), appropriate music selection, costuming and tastefully adorned set (Susan Trigianni, Lou Wheeler, Sharon A. Daws) all added to the ambiance of the show. The lighting design (Ron Hill, James Meinel) displayed during the last scene was a nice touch, and the scene itself lent an almost classical, if odd, “triple wedding” effect to the ending as if all characters were now paired off. 

Though MR. 80% has similarities to the sitcom classic “Three’s Company” (which ran from 1977-1984 and was based on British sitcom “Man About the House” 1973-1976), as a play, it stands on it’s own. No canned laughter needed for this show, the audience supplied it in abundance! 

Note: Some language may not be appropriate for younger audiences. 

MR. 80%
By James Sherman
Directed by Steve Kelly
September 9 – 24, 2011
Colonial Playhouse
522 West Magnolia Avenue
Aldan, PA 19018-3709
(610) 622-5773  

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1 comment

Tom Blair September 13, 2011 - 10:08 am

Nicely written review. Never heard of this show – but the plot sounds hilarious.


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