Past Reviews

Regional Reviews: Florida - West Coast

Skirting the Law
Starlite Players
Review by William S. Oser | Season Schedule

Also see Bill's reviews of The Light in the Piazza, The Summer Circus Spectacular 2016, and A Tale of Two Cities

Michael Kinsey, Joseph Giglia, and Phillip Troyer
Photo by Carol LoRicco
Starlite Players chugs merrily along, presenting a program of short comedies on the third weekend of every month. The program for June was Skirting the Law, "Four short comedies about people playing the angles (badly)." The show played June 16-19, the weekend following the Orlando massacre which took place only 100 miles from their home base in Sarasota. One of the comedies seemed inappropriate due to theme and was pulled at the last minute with a new one put in its place. This information was made widely available in the press, but the audience might never have known otherwise.

"Honest Abe" Mazulu, written by Stephen Cooper and directed by Ken Erickson, opened the program. Abraham Mazulu, a diplomat from an African Country, played by Michael Kinsey, approaches M. Poulenc (Joseph Giglia), a bank officer, for names of account holders who have wrongly removed money from his country. Also involved in the action is David, Poulenc's assistant, played Philip Troyer. The play has been published in "Best Ten-Minute Plays 2011."

Michael Kinsey has appeared with Starlite very effectively in the past and repeats his success. Mr. Giglia is a well known entity at Venice Theater, but someone I have managed to miss in all of his performances. He was excellent here and in the second half opener as well. Now that he is on my radar, I will make sure I see more of his talents. Mr. Troyer has less stage time but I believed him when he screamed as his boss was threatened with a gun.

Killer Date by David Abolafia and directed by Jamie Lee Butrum was next up. The play is about a blind date and has a twist. Joseph Rebella plays Pete, Grace Vitale is Gabriella, Lauren Ward plays Kristi the waitress, and Dorian Boyd supplies the voice of Scorpion Messenger. Mr. Rebella has been in ensembles of several shows at Manatee Players, here he got a chance to try out his acting chops. I've not seen Ms. Vitale's work before, but she was very good as the mismatched date. Lauren Ward has been seen often in Community Theater productions and was effective to complete the ensemble.

After Intermission came Gram Scams by Cary Pepper and directed by Daniel Greene. Betty Robinson as Gram receives a phone call from her "grandson" in jail in Canada who says he needs $15,000. She plays the caller named Michael, played by Joseph Giglia, for a while until her real grandson, played by Ren Pearson, arrives in person. Betty Robinson deftly let the audience know that she is not being taken in, no fool she. Mr. Giglia played his role well, and Ren Pearson in this and the next play showed considerable improvement as an actor, much more sure of himself on stage.

At Sea, Two guys in Clerical Guise by Denis Meadows and directed by Mark Woodland was the last minute substitution. It went off without a hitch; the actor's had been given permission to carry scripts but declined to do so. Rik Robertson as Tony and Ren Pearson as Joey are two crooks masquerading as Catholic priests, trying to get stolen loot to safety. they are accosted by Lauren Ward as Megaly, who suspects that there is something amiss and wants a piece of the action. The play was very light, slightly breezy, and well performed by all.

Starlite Players continues to offer audiences evenings of light entertainment and actors a place to stretch their wings. Their next outing will be performed July 14-17, 2016.

Skirting the Law played through June 19, 2016, presented by The Starlite Players at The Starlite Room, 1001 Cocoanut Avenue, Sarasota, FL. For more information, visit

The Crew:
Producing Artistic Director: Jo Morello
Technical Director: Steve Patmagrian
Stage Manager: Cindy Schlotterback
Production Coordinator: Jamie Lee Butrum
Sound Designer: Dorian Boyd
Webmaster: Don Walker
Photographer: Carol LoRicco
Front of House: Joan Antonicelli, Sal Antonicelli
House Managers: Paz Cowan, Jean Jester, Eric Roberts
Others in Various Capacities: Ken Erickson, Marie Kilker, Dick Pell, James Thaggard, Tyler Yurckonis and The Starlite room staff.

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