Published 12:24 am Wednesday, January 21, 2009

For its first show of the new year, Picayune On Stage has hit the right note with “The Queen of BINGO” — this show is funny, funny, FUNNY!

The production is set to take the Knights of Columbus Hall in Picayune by storm this weekend, Friday, January 23 and Saturday, January 24. The show is the main fare, along with a roast beef dinner and a little audience BINGO, to top off what is sure to be an enjoyable, well-rounded evening of entertainment.

Written by Jeanne Michels and Phyllis Murphy, and directed by Pearl River County’s own Gladys Hughes, this show takes the art of gaming (church lady style) to a whole new level. Audiences are sure to fall in love with the two main characters, Babe and Sis, who find themselves relocated from New Orleans due to a hurricane. You get a good look at who they are through their hobby… er, way of life — BINGO.

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Hughes smartly cast two of the county’s greatest character actresses to pull off a show that does not have a lot of action, but still finds a way to remain fast-paced and totally engaging. Jessica Lacour as Sis and Donna Aguilard as Babe, are like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle — they just fit!

Fellowship during the game of BINGO is how you get to know these two sisters. Their character flaws, and some of their insecurities are revealed while they try, and try, and try, to win. Although Babe seems to want that win more than Sis, neither could live without this beautiful distraction in their lives.

Before she even speaks, Lacour, as the more laid back, drier sister, draws giggles with her choice of “good luck” tchotskis. Lacour has always had a great sense of comic timing, drawing scores of laughter in her other Picayune On Stage roles, and as Sis there is no exception. She plays well off of the more dynamic sister in Aguilard.

Aguilard’s Babe is spot on. Her eyes alone tell you she means business with her BINGO. The audiences are sure to appreciate her moments of self-deprecating humor — we’ve all been there. From the way she works her colorful costume, to her comedic facial expressions and expressive eyes, Aguilard is sure to make you fall head-over-heels for Babe.

Through those peepers of Sis and Babe (which don’t seem to miss a trick), you will meet other characters at St. Joseph’s KC Hall, “there” yet not there, who you will love to hate. When “the fat one” takes a stroll across the room in her stretch pants, though she is not really there, you will see her. Aguilard and Lacour pull this business off with total believability.

With a cameo performance as Father Francis McKenzie Muldoon, Nick Chatelain, who has played numerous roles at Picayune On Stage, will lead the “Middle Bird Special” round of BINGO, bringing the audience into the show.

Rounding out the performers are Bonnie Hughes and Liz Flynt who will provide a few “off-stage” BINGO winners’ voices and Ben Poolson who calls the game.

The format for “The Queen of BINGO,” in other productions, has been compared to the widely familiar sketches of Harvey Korman and Tim Conway from the Carol Burnett Show. While the show has been played topsy turvey, with men as women in the lead roles, the playfulness of the dialogue is what makes any production of this show special and Picayune On Stage’s production serves it all up with extra hilarity — and roast beef!

Tickets are still available for “The Queen of BINGO” at KC Hall in Picayune. The price is $33.30 and they must be purchased in advance by calling the theater’s box office, 601-749-5551, or 601-798-9146. They are also available at Family Furniture on U.S. Highway 11 in Picayune.

Starting next weekend, the show will be revived, sans the dinner, at Picayune On Stage’s home at 322 W. Canal. For more information, call 601-749-5551 or visit