Another fantastic production from the Wagon Wheel family! I would have to say that The Nerd is probably my personal favorite of this season.
I thought the dialogue between the characters was well played and the cast were all incredible in this production. Though I know most of the recurring directors club members are fans of all the music and talented choreography usually associated with Wagon Wheel productions, I found it nice to see other talents illuminated from the cast. The Nerd was focused more on comedic delivery and clever dialogue than that of music and dance.
The Nerd is a farcical tale of Willum Cubbert (Matthew Janisse) and how his life is turned upside down by the appearance of Rick Steadman (Matt Hill), the man responsible for saving Willum’s life while off at war.
After years of admiration and gratitude for a man he had never met, Rick leaves Willum a message on his answering machine that he is coming to town for long awaited visit. Over the years, Willum and Rick had merely exchanged occasional letters and greeting cards. Willum, however, has promised Rick that he could come to him for help at any time.
While Willum is hosting a dinner party with his friends, Tansy McGinnus (Jennifer Dow) and Axel Hammond (Rob Montgomery), for client Warnock Waldgrave (Kyle Timson) and his wife, played by Kira Lace Hawkins, for whom he is designing a hotel, Rick shows up. His awkward manner and inappropriate behavior throw the occasion into shambles.
Rick decides to move in and Willum feels that he can’t say no, even when Rick begins to destroy his professional relationship with Mr. Waldgrave. Eventually at his wit’s end, Willum decides to take a chance on a plan Axel hatches to get rid of Rick. What Willum is in for is more than just being annoyed by his nuisance of a war buddy for an interesting twist of events at the end of the play.
Matthew Janisse does very well with being the nice guy and Architect Willum Cubbert. His struggle with his pesky houseguest seemed genuine in his line delivery.
Jennifer Dow as Tansy McGinnus does a wonderful job and was very natural in her role. She seemed to really enjoy being Tansy and that made her performance all the better.
Rob Montgomery is the stand out of the show in his role as the drama critic Axel Hammond. He had some one-liners that actually made me laugh out loud and his timing was impeccable. His personality on stage was perfect and the part almost seemed to be written for him.
Warnock Waldgrave, played by Kyle Timson, was a funny and crucial relief for the play. His bits were at times angry enough that I thought he was actually going to hit the nerd character of Rick.
Kira Lace Hawkins plays Warnocks wife Clelia. In her reserved mannerisms and quiet, pleasant voice, Kira presents one of the most believable and entertaining performances of The Nerd. Also, watching her collect plates for Clelia’s plate-smashing stress relief is unexpectedly hilarious!
The son Thor, played by young Parker Irwin, was great! He had a high pitched scream that brought me back to the days of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone. Most of his lines are screaming in terror as Thor is repeatedly traumatized by the strange circumstances surrounding him, but Parker keeps the audience sympathetic and laughing throughout.
Last but most certainly, not least is Matt Hill’s performance as the nerd of nerds Rick Steadman. His character is meant to be one of supreme annoyance and Matt channeled many stereotypes into his fine performance. The nasally voice, craned neck and pelvis-leading posture all contribute to his wonderful characterization, making his rendition of the character a successfully funny caricature that is The Nerd. I loved his twist in character at the end of the performance as well.
Great job to the whole cast and crew of the Wagon Wheel in this performance! The Nerd is my personal favorite and is most arguably one of the funniest and most entertaining plays this season! I highly recommend checking this out! It is playing now through Aug. 10, so you still have plenty of time.
Up next is Forever Plaid and it is playing Aug. 14-24. It is also the last play of this season so be sure not to miss it!