Picayune on Stage gets exposed in “Natalie Needs a Nightie”

Published 5:35 pm Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A case of mistaken identities, a tipsy maid, and hairy legs in high heels create the hilarious backdrop for Picayune on Stage’s latest undertaking “Natalie Needs a Nightie” opening this Friday at their W. Canal location. This fast-paced comedy written by Neil and Caroline Shaffner delivers with a “Neil Simonesque” quality, and POS is up for the challenge.

Set in the bachelor apartment of Tommy Briggs in Chicago, this show will leave the audience breathless – from laughing and trying to keep up with the action.

Donna Aguilard, the director, along with Rachel Hey, assistant director, has to be commended for directing this show and keeping the train on it’s tracks. One missed cue could spell disaster for this “train out of control” comedy.

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Tim Alt, new to the stage, plays the lead character Tommy Briggs and does a respectable job as the straight man amidst all the chaos of revolving doors and missing clothes. Tommy Briggs’ life is literally crumbling down around him, and Alt empathizes with his character with a special grace and finesse. A good job for his big debut.

Braun Smith, as Jimmy Watson, shines as the guy who would literally do anything for a friend. Smith is believable as both a man and a woman.

Also winning in their roles as the supporting cast are Ben Poolsen, as John Watson, and Ron Dearmin, as Juniper J. Juniper.

Toni Tucker, as Rosebud, is hilarious as the nipping, stealing, and napping maid. Her comic timing is perfect.

Ashley Duggin-Smith, as Natalie Newsome, finds herself in the wrong place at the absolute worst time. Duggin-Smith delivers a heartfelt, naivete’ beautifully – it’s hard not to want to climb on stage and help her.

Ashley Taylor, as Thomasa “Tommy” Briggs, steps into the diva role without missing a beat. Taylor breathes life into the neighbor with the same name.

The small black box storefront on Canal is the perfect intimate setting, letting the audience into the apartment, and into the lives of these zany characters.

Natalie Needs a Nightie opens this Friday and will run for three consecutive weekends. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $5 for students. Friday and Saturday performances have an 8p.m. curtain, and the Sunday matinees start at 2p.m. Call 601-749-5551 for tickets and information, or visit www.picayuneonstage.com. Due to limited seating capacity, tickets must be purchased in advanced.