With “Love Letters” still gracing the Good Theater stage, Brian P. Allen is ambitiously staging a second play, the Maine premiere of Molly Smith Metzler’s “The May Queen.” This latest production tickles the funny bone with relatable characters and a societal commentary that’s “Mean Girls” meets “The Office.”

Set designer Craig Robinson establishes the quirky mood of the production, transforming the Good Theater’s stage into the Vallor Group Insurance Agency in Kingston, New York, where Dave (Thomas Ian Campbell), Mike (Rob Cameron) and Gail (Laura Houck) toil under the tyranny of their inexperienced new boss, Nicole (Hannah Elaine Perry). The audience smiled Friday night every time the stage lights dawned and Gail’s desktop hula girl began to dance to “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,” showcasing the defiant uniqueness of the workers in the “windowless pit of despair.”

Like many offices, the Vallor Group’s sales team is a dysfunctional family-like unit, plagued with personal problems. Dave lives with his mom and attends full-time night school; Gail’s 19-year-old daughter can’t hold down a job; and Mike struggles with issues of identity and how to cope in the aftermath of a car accident that left him with a brain injury and his brother, Jeff, permanently institutionalized.

The play opens midstream in their story. Mike has just been placed on an unpaid leave for drunken indecency, and a Manpower temp, Jennifer Nash (Abbie Killeen), has been hired to assist with audits in Mike’s absence. The storyline reaches a comic high – and office decorum low – when Dave and Gail learn that the seemingly standoffish temp is Kingston High’s former May Queen for 1997, and the object of Mike’s stalker-like obsession. Gossip and office pettiness ensue, drawing parallels to the cruelty of high school life for those not part of the in-crowd.

Under the direction of Allen, Good Theater’s cast brings likability to Metzler’s band of misfits. Campbell is the consummate nerd as Dave, dressed in high-waisted pants, a “Blue’s Clues” striped shirt and thick-rimmed glasses. His character couldn’t be any more different than Houck’s flamboyant character, Gail, a Zumba enthusiast and part-time massage therapist.

The two gossip like schoolchildren and lament their unfair work conditions, referring to their boss as “Benjamin Button,” “bride of Chucky,” “Punky Brewster,” “Thumbelina” and “Cabbage Patch preemie,” among other amusing nicknames. Perry brings a smile as the vilified millennial, delivering stilted edicts while waddling around in high-heeled shoes and pencil-thin skirts.

Cameron and Killeen round out the delightful cast as the controversial central characters at the heart of the dramedy. Cameron has an excellent ability to straddle the line between drama and comedy, delivering both humor and intensity as a former jock, haunted by his prior life choices.

Killeen also stands out, delivering a tell-all about her character’s life after being nominated May Queen. The diatribe is funny, emotional, awe-inspiring and show-stopping, all rolled into one.

The Good Theater’s rendition of “The May Queen” is a fun dramatization of office life, offering comparisons to high school life that strike a comic and emotional chord. The play subtly addresses the consequences of gossiping, bullying and stalking, all the while delivering witty banter that many office workers only wish they could say out loud.

April Boyle is a freelance writer from Casco. She can be contacted at:

[email protected]

Twitter: ahboyle


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