STAGE REVIEW 'Gun Shy' at YSU takes aim at relationships

The premise of this play is bizarre, but hilariously so.
YOUNGSTOWN -- "Gun Shy," a modern comedy by Richard Dresser, opened Thursday evening in the Spotlight Arena at Youngstown State University. The comical exploration of relationships is being directed by Dr. Dennis Henneman, who has assembled an excellent cast to portray this eclectic, albeit strange, little group of people.
Brenda Park played Evie, a divorced woman who is in a new relationship with Carter, portrayed by Alex Stavrou. Evie is vain and manipulative, and Carter is neurotic, to put it mildly.
Duncan, Evie's ex-husband, was played by Adam Thatcher, and his love interest, Caitlin, with whom he's been having an affair since before the divorce, was played by Alisa Mae. He's still a bit stunned by the divorce, and Caitlin misses Evie, who she hasn't met yet. Sound bizarre? It is. Hilariously so.
Rounding out the cast as the waiter, Ramone, Neil, a nurse and a paramedic was Dangilo Brian Bonilla, who obviously had his hands full the entire evening.
The play gives an excellent picture of the complex relationships between men and women, men and men and women and women. Everyone seems to be saying what they mean, and yet they rarely mean what they say. Or at least that's how they interpret each other, with some very comic, if at times poignant, results.
Evie wants something more than she's had with Duncan, who is trying to be more for Caitlin than he was for Evie, and Carter is drowning in trying to please Evie while Caitlin is afraid of commitment and yet is afraid not to be committed to Duncan. Confusing? Yes, just like real life, but a whole lot easier to laugh at. And, hopefully, some things get sorted out in the end.
Cast's performances
Park was superb as Evie, giving her character a demeanor in which she never realizes that she may possibly be her own worst enemy. Thatcher was also in fine form as Duncan, valiantly trying to put his life back together after his failed 14-year marriage.
As the gun-control fund-raising Caitlin, Mae had some of the most comedic, if weird lines, especially when missing the "excitement of sneaking around" and wishing she could feel the passion of Duncan's anger that he shows for Evie. Stavrou was also equal to his task as the jittery, accident-prone Carter, who just feels caught up in a whirlwind of confusion that he can't quite come to terms with.
The hardest work, clearly, was Bonilla's in affecting five different roles, which he accomplished exceptionally well.
Behind-the-scenes duties by W. Rick Shilling, Greg Clepper, Darin Munnell, Jane Shanabarger and Sara Zilles kept the pace running smoothly throughout the performance.
XAdditional performances of "Gun Shy" are scheduled for 3 and 8 p.m. today and Saturday and at 3 p.m. Sunday.

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