Dog & Pony Theatre Company presents
AUCTIONING THE AINSLEYS
At Building Stage, 412 N. Carpenter
Written by Laura Schellhardt
Directed by Dan Stermer
Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru December 18th
Running Time: Two hours includes a ten minute intermission
Reviewed by Katy Walsh
When attending an auction, it's important not to disclose your personal interest. Knowing you put extra importance on a particular item, may influence how others see it. But sometimes to ensure an article is valued at its worth, it's necessary to make the private connection public. I'm on the Board of Directors of the Dog & Pony Theatre Company and invite you to view its newest lot, AUCTIONING THE AINSLEYS. The matriarch of a family auction house is losing it: her mind and her life. Fifteen years ago, her husband died unexpectedly. The damage he did to her favorite keepsakes must be undone. Before the final gavel bangs, the mother must remember to restore her tarnished children to functionality. This quirky comedy is a "Hoarders" intervention of the "The Royal Tennebaum" family. AUCTIONING THE AINSLEYS objectifies family and slaps a price tag on it.
Under the direction of Dan Stermer, the cast goes to auction with individual style for high entertainment value. With a wink and a hand slam, Rebekah Ward-Hays (Avery) closes the sale with fast-talking comedic brilliance. Ward-Hays drives the action with full-on oldest sister bitchiness. Glimpsing what she's hiding, Ward-Hays' heart-wrenching moment surprises (and provokes a tear or five from me). Faith Hurley (Annalee) is funny as an unattractive eccentric. Hurley staples and files with a Rainman-like obsessive, illogical frenzy. Countering Hurley's undeniable craziness, Teeny Lamothe (Amelia) balances peculiar with a mystic quality. Lamothe delivers her philosophical nonsense with sweet confidence. Lamothe's charisma recruits a that-doesn't-make-sense-but-maybe-it-does cult following. She's more a poof than piff! Matt Sherbach (Aiden) is hysterical as the non-collector in a house of stuff. Sherbach is pure attitude in detached absurdity. As secretary to the mother, Austin Talley (Arthur) is 'taking pictures with a pen' to record the family history. Talley connects with accepting normalcy. Every family function should employ an Arthur to bring the calm to the laughable drama. Kate Kisner (Alice/mom) plays vague remorse with Taylor Holland's looks and deadpan delivery.
Playwright Laura Shellhardt has penned an unconventional comedy with sharp dialogue and distinct characters. The relative craziness is relatable family farcical. Surprisingly, the oddball antics take a sentimental turn for a happy ending. Some of the characters' situations clear-up with an unbelievable shine. The buffing technique leaves a questionable glare on the resolution. But I'm from the Midwest, I like my treasures, like my family, unpolished, genuine and slightly dented. AUCTIONING THE AINSLEYS is a perfect home-for-the-holidays break. It promises an opportunity to laugh at someone else's family dysfunction. I'm proud of the lot of them. It's a one-of-a-kind show to experience before it's going, going, gone.
With paddles in the hand, these auction-goers describe the show with Jen: Animated, articulate, amusing, Scott: Going once -sold, and Ellen: Sassy, energetic, poignant.