The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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May 4, 2012

Kitchen-based comedy becomes a food fight

CARTHAGE, Mo. — A “kitchen witch” is a homemade doll of a crone that allegedly brings about good fortune while keeping bad spirits at bay.

But we’re not talking about that type of witch, though certainly a kitchen is involved.

The Caroline Smith-penned comedy, “The Kitchen Witches,” is the latest play put on by the veterans at Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre. It also could be one of the funniest shows ever shown at the Carthage-based theater, according to the show’s director.

“This is one of the most laugh-filled comedies that I’ve seen,” said director Bill Welsh. “This is a hilariously funny show, both because of the writing and because of the acting.”

As a testimony to the play’s comedic shenanigans, Welsh said he still giggles during certain parts of the play, even if he and the three main actors -- Betty Bell, Betsy Fleischaker and Doug Dickey -- have been rehearsing the play for more than a month now.

For audience members seeing the show for the first time, Welsh continued, he guarantees people will have an ache in their side from laughing by the time the first intermission rolls around.

Isobel Lomax and Dolly Biddle are two cable-access cooking show hostesses who have hated each other for nearly 30 years, ever since Larry Biddle dated one but married the other. When both are forced together to co-host a new television cooking show called “The Kitchen Witches,” it’s the best of “Jerry Springer” -- but inside the kitchen.

Dolly’s son, Stephen, tries to intervene for the sake of the show, but the two women ignore him. And as they squabble and spit at each other on-air, the show instantly becomes a ratings smash.

Bell plays Biddle while Fleischaker assumes the role of “Izzy” Lomax. Dickey takes on the role of poor Stephen Biddle. Daniel Burkett plays Rob the camera guy.

“Collectively between the three main actors, there are 60 years of theater experience,” Welsh said. “The fact that all three have served as directors, it’s been a huge asset for me.”

Performances launch next Thursday, May 10, and run through Sunday, May 13 -- a special Mother’s Day performance.

“The play dovetails nicely with Mother’s Day,” Welsh said.

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