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EMA Review: Ripcord ***** Delicious

Let It Rip  

By Paul Atreides

Author, playwright

Theatre critic at


Horrible things happen throughout life. How that affects us in the long run can depend on how we deal with them. We can either wallow in the misfortune or be a cockeyed optimist. David Lindsey-Abaire’s Ripcord, now playing at Las Vegas Little Theatre, portrays those options in the form of two women forced to room together in a retirement facility.


Abby is acerbic and grumpy; Marilyn is upbeat and chipper. A room becomes available when another resident dies, but management dislikes Abby and, to punish her refuses to move Marilyn.

That not a single line is wasted is not only a matter of the writing, it’s also in the acting and directing. As directed by Rob Kastil, the results are hilarious. He’s assembled a great cast and, more importantly, keeps the pacing crisp and agile.


Theresa Fullerton plays Abby, who has chased off a number of roommates, prefers to spend her time alone, angry at the world and is afraid of nothing. Fullerton is a master of comedy, delivering punch lines with perfect timing.


Sherri Brewer plays Marilyn, who intends to make the best of the situation and keep smiling. Brewer not only holds her own, but she also delivers her constant optimism in spades. She’s a spritely and delightful chatterbox.


The two make a bet. If Abby can make Marilyn angry, Marilyn goes. If Marilyn scares Abby, well, Marilyn at least gets the bed by the window. As the competition escalates, Fullerton and Brewer deliver well-defined characters and all the laughs to go with them.


The supporting cast is as excellent. Kyle Jones plays Scotty, an orderly, to the hilt but reigns it in so it’s real and believable. He employs the entire instrument, so his physical movement is as funny as his delivery.


Gillen Brey, Joel Wayman, and Heath Robertson round out the cast. Brey plays Marilyn’s daughter, Colleen, and brings competitiveness to a whole new, very funny level. Joel Wayman as Derrick, Marilyn’s son-in-law, shows that drawn in against one’s will can be equally funny. Robertson is great in several minor roles but delivers a beautifully crafted poignancy to his scene as Abby’s son, Benjamin.


Production values are high. Ron Lindblom’s retirement room set is well-detailed, but it’s a setting played downstage that is remarkable as the action moves through a Haunted House. The changes are done in a way that never slows the action or the laughs.

Oh, yeah, there’s a sky-diving scene, too, and Ginny Adams’ lighting delivers diminishing clouds along with an expanding blue sky. Add Lisa Tollefson’s sound design to cover very brief scene changes with a mix of upbeat and fun music, and sets, lights, and sound blend to bring the magic of theatre to life.


This production will entertain with a wonderful blend of situations. Pull the ripcord, baby! Because you don’t want to miss this one.


What: Ripcord

When: 8 p.m. Friday to Saturday; 2 p.m. Sundays through March 17

            2 p.m. Saturday, March 9

Where: Las Vegas Little Theatre - Mainstage, 3920 Schiff Drive

Tickets: $30 (702-362-7996;

Grade:  ***** Delicious

Producer: Las Vegas Little Theatre; Director: Rob Kastil; Set Design: Ron Lindblom; Lighting Design: Ginny Adams; Sound: Lisa Tollefson; Costumes: Julie Horton; Stage Manager: Jim Braun


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