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Review: 'One Slight Hitch' brings comedy to wedding disaster

In an interview at Totem Pole Playhouse earlier this week, Betsy Randle, who plays the mother in comedian Lewis Black’s hit comedy “One Slight Hitch,” predicted: “They will laugh, and maybe cry just a little.”

She was right. In spades.

The audience swung from loud laughter to a few audible “awwwwws” during the course of the play.

Here are the basics:

Set in 1981, the play focuses on the Colemans of Cincinnati, Doc, Delia as the parents, their three daughters. The oldest, Courtney, is getting married to Harper, handsome, possessed of a trust fund, every mother’s dream son-in-law.

Ah, but then there is Ryan – the titular one slight hitch, the clueless ex-boyfriend who shows up on the wedding day and refuses to leave.

The story is narrated off and on by youngest and perfectly cynical daughter P.B., aged 15, played by New York’s Jacey Powers. Powers’ character seems to keep a grip on one thin string of sanity as the perfect wedding day turns into the perfect disaster, and then…

Never mind. You’ll have to see it.

In a telephone interview Friday, Black he picked the setting of the play during a time when the nation’s views of traditional marriage were changing. In other interviews he said he went through a similar crash-and-burn relationship back in about that time and got to wondering what would happen if he just showed up for his own ex’s wedding…

One thing led to another…

The father figure, “Doc,” is carried away by the delightfully gob-smacked Granville “Sonny” Van Dusen, who portrayed Abraham Lincoln in last season’s popular production of one-person play, "The Memoirs of Abraham Lincoln." Randle as the flustered mom is known for her role as Amy Matthews, in ‘90s hit sitcom "Boy Meets World," as the Mother of the Bride, Delia. The play’s direction was under Rand Foerster, a long-time collaborator of Lewis Black.

Executive Artistic Director at Totem Pole, Rowan Joseph, joked that, though Black’s stand-up routines are liberally splashed with four-letter words, he guaranteed that “One Slight Hitch” contains only works of at least seven letters.

Rounding out the cast are Jonathan Cable and Kelsey Landon as Harper and Courtney. New York actors, Brett Dameron as Ryan and Carly Zien portrayed Melanie.

A member of the audience picked at random turned out to be Janelle Powers from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

It is a long drive to see a play, but Powers had the best of reasons: The actress playing P.B., the youngest daughter, is her daughter.

Jacey is actually older than 15, but not by a whole lot, her mom explained. She started acting in community theater at the age of 6, and pulled in her first professional gig at 10.

“She is very sweet,” said the elder Powers. “And very tough. She has already written two plays that were performed off-Broadway.”


The show will run through July 24. Tickets range from $30 to $45 with matinee performances Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2 p.m. and evening performances Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.