News and Tribune

January 11, 2013

Plenty of laughs in Derby Dinner’s ‘Killjoy’

By CHARLES WHALEY
newsroom@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE — Will she or won’t she manage to do away with that boorish “Killjoy” of an ex-husband who continues to mess up her life and demoralize their two grown children?

That’s the question, delivered with laughs aplenty, in Derby Dinner Playhouse’s frisky, constantly shifting plot devised by veteran sit-com writer Jerry Mayer whose numerous credits include “All in the Family,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” and “M*A*S*H*.”

“Killjoy,” briskly directed by Derby Dinner producer Bekki Jo Schneider, features Tina Jo Wallace, looking a lot like Carol Burnett at times, as fed-up Carol, divorced after 24 years of marriage from blowhard pizza restaurateur Victor (David Myers, in stellar cantankerous mode).

He’s just back from a European honeymoon with sexy younger wife Claudia (Janet Essenpreis), dubbed “a snake-charmer” by Carol. Meanwhile his sycophantic lawyer Rick (Cary Wiger), almost as obnoxious as Victor, is urging Carol to sign a bad alimony agreement. Or is he? Tables turn awfully fast and unexpectedly in this play.

The two children of Carol and Victor -- Sonny (Jeffrey Todd Parrott) and Vicki (Carly Stotts) — work for their dad in his restaurant, where he craftily sets them competing with each other. See what a nice man he isn’t?

No wonder that thoughts of mayhem run through Carol’s head as well as a few other heads that come up as a surprise.

Though she’s Jewish, Carol goes to Catholic Father Mulcahy (a hilarious scene-stealing J. R. Stuart) to make a confession because her rabbi is out of town. Wanting to kill her husband is not a very original sin, he tells her.

Stuart’s wise-cracking priest pops up occasionally during the play when Carol is thinking how to get rid of Victor.

And he’s a welcome distraction indeed among this bunch of self-centered, devious characters who are not lacking in killer instincts.

“Killjoy” runs through Feb. 16 at Derby Dinner Playhouse.  For tickets and information:  (812) 288-8281, toll free (877) 898-8577, or www.derbydinner.com.