EMAV Review: A ball at LVLT's 'Ballyhoo' ★★★★½

Updated: Mar 8, 2019

★★★★½ - Delicious

“The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” Alfred Uhry's 1997 Tony Award-winning play, takes a solid look at anti-semitism in the South. The action is centered around the Atlanta Jewish community's annual Ballyhoo Ball (a Jewish cotillion) during the excitement surrounding the 1939 premiere of “Gone with the Wind” and the breaking out of World War II in Europe.

Directed by Rob Kastil for Las Vegas Little Theatre (LVLT), the production wisely mines the humor and slips in the right amount of poignancy in all the right places. This is really an ensemble piece and Kastil has treated it as such with quite a capable cast. After an initial stumbling over a couple of missed lines and despite stepping on laughs, this cast grabs the reins and gallops along without missing a beat.

Scene breaks are numerous but the pacing never suffers because of them, thanks to an excellent Running Crew. And, thanks to Mike Olsen’s very appropriate sound design, the music at first retains the moment then transitions us smoothly into the next scene.

Marty Weaver delivers a steady Adolph Freitag, the patriarch of the clan. Weaver represents the calming influence to each imagined catastrophe in a houseful of women worried about invitations to the Ballyhoo Ball and marriage proposals from the right men. He’s always in the moment and his timing is on point.

Act Two introduces us to Peachy Weil played with obnoxious delight by Michael Blair. His antics, both physical and vocal, bring laughter even with a running gag because Blair so easily and convincingly slips from one emotion to another.