It's nice when a local playwright gets the opportunity to stage their work, and Stephen Peirick's comedy, Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs, is certainly a worthy first effort. There are a lot of good lines that were lost to the Sunday matinee crowd I saw it with, so we can ignore them and get straight on to the play. West End Players Guild has put together a fitfully funny, and a times, quite amusing comedy, and it's definitely worthy of your attention. A fine cast and clean, crisp direction help to make this an engaging experience.
Cameron Dobbs is a down on his luck computer nerd with an obsessive collection of Star Wars action figures (in the box, of course), but not much else going for him. Especially, since he got fired from his job for watching Princess Leia porn in the executive washroom, and got caught with his pants down, so to speak. On top of all that, he's got a birthday he's looking forward to that been hopelessly ruined. His brother's wife, Abby, has invited a co-worker as a sort of date for Cameron, only his brother has also invited their overbearing mother, Helen. This makes for a deadly, but entertaining night since Cameron is not even just allergic to the meal, but the birthday cake as well.
John Foughty does a good job as Cameron, capturing his inner schlep. He not only has to deal with the above circumstance, he's also taken a header on the curb as well and bloodied up his nose. Foughty mines the situation for humor and pathos. Colleen Backer is a minor riot as Abby, repressed to the nth degree, she's also saddled with some of the best lines of the show. Jan Meyer plays Cameron's mother in the overbearing manner that the part demands, and Eric Dean White is properly insufferable, and cursed with being forgettable, as Cameron's much more successful brother, Owen. Sarajane Alverson steals the show as the date Abby brings home for Cameron. They obviously have nothing in common, but somehow they find a way to get through the situation.
Robert Ashton's direction is very well conceived, although the plays needs to come to its conclusion at a much faster pace. This could be attributed to the play itself, which take time for Cameron to address each of the “culprits” in his life, in separate order. Ken Clark's set neatly captures Abby and Owen's one bedroom apartment where all of the action takes place. Anthony Anselmo's lighting contributes, and so does Collen Heneghan's costume design.
The West End Player Guild's production of Wake Up, Cameron Dobbs continues through March 4, 2012 at the Union Avenue Church.