It’s only a great play

PUHI — The reviews are in for “The Golden Egg.” They are not good. As a matter of fact, this production stinks. There’s not a nice way to get around saying the world would be a better place if it never heard this rotten egg of a play.

The director, the actors, the producer, even the ushers, should hang their heads in shame. Turn out the lights, this party is thankfully over. Be glad you didn’t go because that’s a few hours you’ll never get back.

Ouch. Brutal review.

Wait a minute.

That “The Golden Egg” was so bad it’s what made “It’s Only a Play” so good.

Got that?

An explanation might help.

“It’s Only a Play,” written by Terrence McNally, directed by Arnold Meister and put on at the Puhi Theatrical Theater, tells the story of the opening night of “The Golden Egg” on Broadway.

A rich producer is throwing a party at her Manhattan townhouse to celebrate afterward. Those involved are hoping and praying (literally on their knees pleading with God) for good reviews. So they wait. And as they wait, the storyline plays out and we get to know this cast of unique characters, their strengths and their weaknesses. And as we get to know them, somehow, we can’t help but like them.

There’s “The Golden Egg” writer Peter Austin, played by Bailey Hutton. There’s critic and want-to-be playwright Ira Drew, played by Ron Wood. There’s the producer, Julia Budder, played by Jo Grande. Director Frank Finger is played by Chris Alderete. Actress Virginia Noyes is played by Gina Mears. Actor James Wicker is played by Ross Martineau. And the hired help, doorman, coat checker and all-around talent Gus P. Head is played by Isaac Worth.

When the reviews finally come in, they are indeed, bad. Nasty. Mean. And the distraught group begins to turn on each other, praise and credit replaced by blame and criticism.

But somehow, it ends with hope and optimistic and even more smiles.

This Kauai Community Players production definitely delivers the goods. So much fun. So much laughter. So much to enjoy. So many outstanding performances.

In most plays, there are a few main characters the story centers around. Not so with “It’s Only a Play,” as each character carries a strong stage presence. Each is required to bring their A game, and each does. What we learn about each character is that while on the outside they may seemed flawed and narcissistic and aloof, members of an elite society, they are, inside, filled with hurt and hope.

Grande is charming, innocent and sweet. Worth is delightful and diligent and steals a scene with song. Martineau is sharp and true and delivers lines with ease. Mears is tough and tested and determined. Alderete plays the director perfectly, displaying eccentric brilliance the role demands. Wood seems wise and worldly, and his character has a secret, in the end, that provides hope when all seems lost. And Hutton is human and humble, wears his heart on his sleeve, but is also resilient.

The credit clearly goes to the influence of Meister, a longtime and respected director, and a cast that held nothing back, that put their heart and soul into every scene.

Such effort is the reason each show sold out since the play opened March 25 and wrapped up Sunday. Meister gives his best and gets the best from his cast.

Unlike “The Golden Egg” that got two thumbs down and the source of much anguish, heartbreak and distress, “It’s Only a Play” earns two thumbs up and leaves us with light hearts and the message that we should never, ever let our critics get the best of us.

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