The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

January 27, 2013

Jo Ellis: ‘Naughty Knickers’ producers offer Feb. 14 sweetheart deal at Carthage theater

By Jo Ellis
Globe Columnist

CARTHAGE, Mo. — This weekend will be the opening performance of Stone’s Throw Dinner Theatre’s production of “Nana’s Naughty Knickers.”

It may sound a bit old-fashioned, but the play is set in contemporary times in a New York City apartment.

The modern comedy, written in 2010, is the first effort of Katherine DiSavino, and it already has been performed by numerous community theater groups around the country and in Canada. It is based on the troubles of Bridget, a young woman pursuing a law career who has come to stay with her favorite grandmother during the summer. She finds that Grandma is illicitly selling handmade “naughty knickers” to every senior citizen in the five-borough area.

Not only is Sylvia, the 83-year-old grandmother, selling the underwear out of her home without a license, or the knowledge of her landlord, she is not declaring her business on her IRS form either.

Bridget wonders which will come first, an arrest or an eviction. The eviction could be the worst outcome because the apartment, where Sylvia has been living since the early 1930s, is rent-controlled.

Sylvia’s cohort in crime is Vera, another tenant of the apartment building whose two hearing aids and collapsible walker are props instigating some of the jokes. This sounds like a play that could easily be overacted and just descend into silliness. With two of the major roles, Sylvia and Vera, being handled by comedic veterans Judy Boyd and Linda Bailey, I don’t think that is going to happen.

Bridget is played by Hannah Marsh. Tom, the concerned and helpful policeman on the beat who looks out for Sylvia, is performed by Mike Smith. Other roles are filled by George Platt, Neal Ruggeberg, Carl Cunningham, Wisper Gubser and Betty Bell. The director is Bill Welsh.

Altogether there will be seven performances of “Nana’s Naughty Knickers”: Feb. 1, 2 and 3, Feb. 8, 9 and 10, and a special Valentine’s Day performance on Thursday, Feb. 14.

On Fridays and Saturdays, the doors open at 6 p.m. with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the show beginning at 7:30 p.m. For Sunday performances, the doors open at 12:30 p.m., with dinner at 1 p.m. and the curtains rising at 2 p.m.

The Valentine’s Day show will follow the Friday and Saturday night schedules. The cost of admission will be $25, which includes valentine goodies of flowers and candy.

Regular prices are $22 for adults, $19 for seniors over 55, and $10 for children ages 6-12. For reservations, people may call 417-358-9665. There is special pricing for groups of 10 or more.

Since her initial effort, DiSavino has written another play, “Things My Mother Taught Me,” another comedy that looks at generational differences.

Address correspondence to Jo Ellis, c/o The Joplin Globe, Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or email news@joplinglobe.com.