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‘Mama Won’t Fly’ brings Southern charm to Kaua‘i

LIHU‘E — “If I can’t make ‘em laugh, why bother?” said Jo Grande, director of Kaua‘i Community Players’ “Mama Won’t Fly” which went up Thursday at the Puhi Theatrical Warehouse.

The two-act comedy, written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten, is packed from start to finish with laughs, antics, and down-home Southern charm.

The show stars Claudia Cowden as Savannah Sprundt Fairchild Honeycut, a workaholic in search of her lost love Spud Farley. Savannah is tasked with transporting her nosy and highly-opinionated mother Norleen Sprundt (the hilarious Dottie Bekeart) from rural Alabama to her brother’s wedding in Los Angeles.

But, as the title says, mama won’t fly — the last time she did, she “upchucked all over that plane” — so the pair must make the cross-country drive together.

They are joined by Hayley Quinn, Norleen’s peppy future daughter-in-law who was cursed since elementary school with a chronic case of bad luck played with smiley exuberance by Gaylen Worthen.

The three women find themselves on a road trip packed with increasingly ridiculous shenanigans along with “cathartic soul-searching and life-altering revelations.”

The trip takes them through two cars, a truck and a Hearst—from a bra museum in Mississippi, to an Irish-Cowboy bar in Nickle Bone, Texas (population 31) to a stripper-officiated wedding in Las Vegas. The banter between the three is snappy and rapid-fire, filled with Southernisms — “bless your heart” — and the leads have great chemistry with one another.

“The pace of the story flows very rhythmically,” said Mark Jeffers, who was in the audience Thursday night.

The show also features entertaining performances from the ensemble cast including memorable turns from Celeste DiToria as a jaded Las Vegas stripper and Larry Richardson as a drunk, vengeful former costume designer — “My mama taught me, don’t go to bed angry, stay up and plot your revenge.”

This is the fourth play written by Jones, Hope and Wooten that Grande has directed, who said that her family’s Oklahoma roots draw her to southern plays.

“I sweat bullets every time I watch this show, maybe because I was in it,” said Grande who played Norleen at another production of this show several years ago. “But tonight seeing it, I feel real good about it. I think we’re going to have a real hit on our hands.”

“Mama Won’t Fly” will show from Feb. 17 to March 6 at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, and at 4 p.m. on Sundays.
Source: The Garden Island

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