...and it plays in Bloomington!

Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2009 by Pat Gaik

‘Funny Valentines’ is a typically delightful romp at Barn II
by Marcia Weiss
The Pantagraph

One wonders, while munching on the home-style fried chicken from the buffet, why the pink set for “Funny Valentines,” which opened last weekend at the Barn II Dinner Theatre, is peppered with dozens of clocks.

Time seems at a standstill, however, as even the tail on the Felix the Cat clock doesn’t swish, underscoring a sore point between whimsical children’s book illustrator, Andy Robbins, and his more grounded ex-wife and co-author, Ellen.

Andy moans from his couch, “She left me because she said I never wound the clocks.”

Too depressed to work, Andy has also let his appearance slide. Rather than bothering to replace the buttons which have fallen off his shirt, he staples his shirt shut instead.

Sloppiness aside, this does not prevent longtime fan Zan Wilkinson, the director from Intro Media, from being attracted to Andy.

Zan has conspired with Andy’s literary agent, Howard, to get Andy and Ellen to sign away their rights to the publishing sensation, Beanie the Bear. Once franchised, Beanie would surely become “bigger than Mickey Mouse,” making them all millionaires.

In the process of negotiation, Zan makes it clear that she is interested in much more from Andy than solely a “business” relationship. And when they attempt to seal the deal, their saucy plans are upset when Ellen knocks on the door, with a few surprises of her own.

Miranda Axsom is lovely as Ellen, and her versatility as an actress is most evident when she stoops to the same level as her immature ex-husband.

Dan Challacombe almost never leaves the stage as Andy. He carries the show with great energy, and just the right amount of pathos.

Mary Simon as Zan, Pat Gaik as Howard and Sara Flanders as Ellen’s mother all kick the comedy up a notch each time they enter into the mayhem.

Running through January and February, the lighthearted “Funny Valentines” serves as a good tonic to keep he winter blues at bay.

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