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Theater review - Mame takes the Averitt Center by storm
mame photo
Mame, played by Erin Wilson, speaks with her nephew Patrick, played by Joshua Kemp in the Averitt Center STARS production of "Mame" last weekend at the Emma Kelly Theater. Performances of Mame also are set for this weekend - photo by HEATHER BENTON/Special
    “That was fabulous!” “We thoroughly enjoyed it!” were comments heard as theater goers exited the Emma Kelly Theater this past weekend. Averitt STARS has once again brought a fun, lively musical to the Emma Kelly Stage as they presented the Broadway musical hit, “Mame.”
    Erin Wilson personifies the very spirit of the Roaring Twenties flapper, Mame—a plucky liberated woman enjoying life to the fullest in 1920’s Manhattan. Partying in her bobbed hair and dancing to the new jazz music of the era, Mame flaunts her disdain for conventional, prudish traditions. Wilson’s accomplished voice wows the audience with all the familiar Broadway tunes once sung by Angela Lansbury.
    Into the midst of this fast-paced life, enters her 10-year-old nephew, Patrick, played by Joshua Kemp. The young orphan is accompanied by his nanny, Agnes Gooch, played in uproarious fashion by Merry Gallagher. Mame makes her philosophy of “seize the moment” clearly understood as she belts out “Open a New Window”  to tell young Patrick to experience life to the fullest and avoid getting in a rut.
    Mame’s best gal friend, Vera, is played with zany comedy and excellent vocals by Margaret Klussman as the duo belts out the familiar tune “Bosom Buddies.”
    The audience can’t help but roar with laughter as Patrick’s prudish executor, Mr. Babcock (John Gleissner) is totally flabbergasted by the return of a pregnant—and unmarried—Agnes Gooch (Gallagher).
    Ironically, some of the best moments in the show are the quiet ones — Mame crooning a duet with young Patrick (an innocent Joshua Kemp) and then with Patrick’s older version portrayed by Andrew Akins. Or Mame returning from the hunt with the rescued fox.
    The audience couldn’t help swaying to that irrepressible title song that makes us sigh and wish it would go on forever. Mame lets us all relax a little in these troubling times as it parallels some of the similar woes that so many are facing today. But it allows us to forget our troubles just a little while as we embrace Mame’s blasé philosophy of ‘Carpe diem’ and just enjoy “A little Christmas with a little laughter, a little singing and a little snappy happy ever after!”
    Mame is held over one more weekend for March 6-8; however, executive director Tim Chapman warns, “We still have tickets available for Friday and Sunday, but we are already sold out for Saturday.”
    To reserve tickets, the public may call (912) 212-ARTS or visit the Box Office on 33 East Main, Tuesday through Friday, from 1p.m. until 5:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold at the door as long as space is available.
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