News and Tribune

May 24, 2013

DDP’s ‘You’re Only Young Twice’ provides comic relief

By CHARLES WHALEY
newsroom@newsandtribune.com

CLARKSVILLE —  Imagine how you’d cope with an elderly widowed father who zooms around on a motorbike, stays out drinking and dancing all night, and acts like a rebellious teenager.

That’s the situation in which daughter Sue (Tina Jo Wallace) and her husband Richard (Cary Wiger) find themselves in “You’re Only Young Twice,” British playwright Ron Aldridge’s rather predictable farce now at Derby Dinner Playhouse.

What makes it pleasurable, however, is J. R. Stuart, buffoonish yet sympathetic as Gordon “Brooksie” Brooks in the central role.

Banned from the “Over 60 Club” for an inappropriate act involving a female member, Brooksie has his eye on sardonic widow Rose (Debbie King-Raque) whose best friend Julia (Elizabeth Loos) is engaged to marry his great buddy Tom (David Myers).

Bickering and misunderstandings never cease as these four pal around, playing Trivial Pursuit, tippling, and going to separate late night “stag” and “hen” parties in advance of Tom and Julia’s wedding.

Producer/director Bekki Jo Schneider sets up a delightful “proper toast” scene — repeated toward the show’s end — that has them moving in madcap unison and singing “In the Mood.”

The hilarity kicks up a notch when Stuart and Myers sing and dance “Let’s Twist Again” at another point.

Playwright Aldridge overdoes things by having Brooksie’s dead wife Grace (Janet Essenpreis in a thankless role) wander in at times and tell him how to woo Rose. That graceless grab for sentimentality is a turn-off.

Stuart, though, is the real deal as he blunders through his new life exasperating just about everyone.

His second-act appearance in pajamas and robe after trying to sleep off a major hangover from the stag party while his daughter sternly lectures him about his behavior is a comic high point. You just know that when he clears the cobwebs from his head he and disapproving Rose are going to have a meeting of the minds.

“You're Only Young Twice” runs through June 30. For tickets and information: 812-288-8281, toll free  877-898-8577, or www.derbydinner.com.