‘One Slight Hitch’ at Bowie Community Theatre cooks up comic chemistry

Is it a sitcom, or is it a stage show parading as a sitcom? That's the question one might ask after watching this amiable concoction of romance and farce.

It is the late summer of 1981 in a Cincinnati suburb. The number one TV show is Dallas. The number one movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark, and the number one hit song is “Betty Davis Eyes.” (A song that “said nothing but said it so well,” according to a character in the show.) This is the setting for comedian/actor/playwright Lewis Black’s parody of Midwestern WASP life, One Slight Hitch, a humorous romantic comedy production by Bowie Community Theatre (BCT).

Maribeth Vogel (Delia Coleman), Rachel Simms (Courtney), and Bill Fellows (Doc Coleman) in ‘One Slight Hitch.’ Photo by Reed Sigmon.

On the day of Courtney Coleman’s wedding, Doc and Delia Coleman’s upper-middle-class home is visited by Ryan, Courtney’s ex-boyfriend, who unexpectedly stops by to talk about his epiphany while traveling the USA and thinking of himself as the second coming of ’50s Beat writer Jack Kerouac. Of course, Harper, Courtney’s future husband, is Ryan’s comical opposite; he is focused, polite, well-dressed, and so, so serious. Love triangle, anyone?

Amanda Matousek, in her BCT debut, brought as much 16-year-old snarkiness as she could to P.B., who broke the fourth wall to narrate the goings-on in the play, particularly those of her sisters, Courtney and Melanie. Cementing this show in the ’80s, she carried a Sony Walkman in nearly all her scenes. Matousek recently appeared in Speech and Debate at the Baltimore Theatre Collective.

Rachel Simms (Courtney), Randy Lindsay (Ryan), and Kat Binney (Melanie) in ‘One Slight Hitch.’ Photo by Reed Sigmon.

Randy Lindsay brought a laid-back Jim Belushi/Jack Nicholson vibe to his role as the vagabond writer Ryan. It was Ryan who wanted to figure out why “America took a right turn and I didn’t.” As he sports a mischievous smile and numerous tattoos, it’s not surprising to know that he is a former pro wrestler.

Maribeth Vogel had a memorable monologue about how her character, Delia, met her husband, Doc. Delia, played by Vogel, was frenzied and a bit ditzy about the upcoming nuptials.

Randy Lindsay (Ryan) and Kat Binney (Melanie) in ‘One Slight Hitch.’ Photo by Reed Sigmon.

In her BCT debut, the vivacious Kat Binney brought Melanie to life as perky in some scenes and lascivious in others. She recently played in Rockville Little Theatre’s Bad Seed. Rachel A. Simms, as Courtney, wonderfully played the angst of a young woman trying to decide if married life was for her.

I liked Joseph Downs’ staidness as cerebral shrink Harper. He might have broken a smile once or twice during his Zen-like performance, though he might have cracked a grimace when he observed that Coleman’s was “the least normal house I’ve ever been in.” In the hands of Bill Fellows, Doc Coleman was affable and clueless.

Being a teenager in 1981, I remember songs like “Jesse’s Girl,” “Hey Mickey,” and “The Raiders of the Lost Ark March.” Sound Designer Fred Nelson wove those songs into the strobe-lit segues between scenes.

Director Jennifer Franklin, in her third turn as a BCT director, excelled at getting her cast firing on all comic cylinders. Set Designer Dan Lavanga gave the Colemans’ home a staid but warm Midwestern personality. The most impressive accessory Costume Designer Jeanne Binney provided was Fellows’ white bunny rabbit slippers, which rated laughs on their own.

Is this show a sitcom parading as a stage show, or a stage show parading as a sitcom? It doesn’t matter. This show is an evening of fine players having fun plying their craft. Enjoy the players’ comic chemistry and laugh.

Running Time: Two hours, including a 15-minute intermission.

One Slight Hitch plays through July 31, 2022, at Bowie Community Theatre at Bowie Playhouse, 16500 White Marsh Park Drive, Bowie, MD. Tickets ($22 adults; $17 seniors and students) can be purchased online.

COVID Safety: To protect the health and safety of performers, volunteers, and patrons we actively monitor developments related to COVID-19 and recommendations from local, state, and CDC officials.  BCT requires that patrons and volunteers are vaccinated at the time of entering the theater building.  Masks are optional but encouraged for all guests, regardless of vaccination status.  Our performers are all vaccinated and wear masks while not on stage.

Doc: Bill Fellows
Delia: Maribeth Vogel
Ryan: Randy Lindsay
P.B.: Amanda Matousek
Melanie: Kat Binney
Courtney: Rachel Simms
Harper: Joseph Downs

Director: Jennifer L. Franklin
Set Designer: Dan Lavanga
Sound Designer: Fred Nelson
Costume Designer: Jeanne Binney


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