“Plaza’s ‘The Nerd’ Is A Funny, Funny Show” by Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers

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PlazaCo’s THE NERD, currently playing thru January 24th, has received a fabulous review from Paul Gnadt of The Star Group Newspapers. Congratulations to director Steven Lindsay and to the entire cast and crew. Read on for a great review of the show, then give us a call to reserve – 817-202-0600.
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Plaza’s ‘The Nerd’ is a funny, funny show

Jonathan Metting, right, watches as JaceSon Barrus, playing wealthy developer Warnock Waldgrave, plays a game called Shoes and Socks during the Plaza

Jonathan Metting, right, watches as JaceSon Barrus, playing wealthy developer Warnock Waldgrave, plays a game called Shoes and Socks during the Plaza Theatre Company’s production of “The Nerd.” (Courtesy Stacey Greenawalt)

So over-the-top yet dead-on perfect is the backwoods Wisconsin and Minnesota-style voice inflection of the feature character, it took me 10 minutes to realize it was Plaza veteran Jonathan Metting as “The Nerd,” playing through Jan. 24 at the Plaza Theatre in Cleburne.

Not only do the actors hit their targets with the fast and furious dialogue whose rejoinders require split-second timing, but, under the experienced direction of Steven Lindsay, it’s just as funny to watch their facial expressions and body language.

“The Nerd” is “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” only with the guest being the most obnoxious and nerdy person imaginable.

Plaza newcomer Brandon Wimmer, left, is Axel Hammond and Plaza veteran JaceSon Barrus is Warnock Waldgrave in Plaza Theatre Company’s production of

If you’ve seen “The Foreigner,” another community theater-favorite also written by Larry Shue, you have some idea of the zany situations — all in the same room — and surprise ending that awaits in “The Nerd.”

Three roles are double-cast. On the night I attended, Metting, who is one play away from earning as asterisk next to his name in the playbill for having participated on stage or behind the scenes in 20 PTC productions, was joined by PTC regulars JaceSon Barrus, Carlee Cagle, JoAnn Gracey and David Goza along with newcomers Parker Skinner and Brandon Wimmer.

For Barrus, one of Plaza’s four founders, “The Nerd” is his 55th Plaza production, while it’s Goza’s 11th and Cagle’s fifth, although both should continue to earn more credits given their versatility and talent.

Here’s the word about “The Nerd.”
Goza is Willum Cubbert (double cast with Robert Shores on Saturday), a Terre Haute, Indiana, architect who is in love with Tansy McGinnis (Cagle, double cast with Suzanne Lee), a TV weather forecaster who is moving to Washington, D.C.

Their best friend, a sharp-tongued drama critic named Axel (PTC newcomer Brandon Wimmer) is trying to bring the two together because Willum is afraid of making a commitment and concentrates too much on his work and not enough on Tansy.

When Willum hosts a dinner party for a wealthy and powerful new client, Warnock Waldgrave (Barrus), his wife, Clelia (Gracey), and their son, Thor (Parker Skinner, double cast with Corbin Vincent), Willum’s telephone-answering machine reveals a message from Rick Steadman (Metting) a war comrade who saved Willum’s life in Iraq.

The comrades were able to stay in touch via snail mail and, because Willum owns his life to Steadman, promised he would do anything for him.

The thing is, Steadman’s heroic deed occurred during a sandstorm while Willum was unconscious, so Willum has no idea what Steadman looks like.

We soon learn what he acts like. He shows up and is the nerd of all nerds; a rude, crude social misfit who plans to stay at Willum’s house for a lengthy visit.

Willum, already afraid of making a commitment to Tansy, is now afraid to throw Steadman out of the house.

All the while, Steadman displays multiple ways to be annoying, including the invasion of everyone’s personal space, the table manners of a pig, and self-centered impressions of celebrities that are embarrassingly awful.

When the dinner party is dragging because of Steadman’s boorish behavior, he forces the group to play a game called Shoes and Socks, resulting in everyone running around the living room with grocery sacks on their heads. The scene ranks right up there with the living room chase from “See How They Run,” the Ed Sullivan Show scene from “Bye, Bye Birdie,” and the body bag scene from “Cash on Delivery” as one of the funniest in PTC history.

With a 58-minute first act and a 47-minute second act surrounding a 15-minute intermission, you’re there at least two hours, but there are so many laughs and the cast is so good that you get your minutes worth, not to mention your money’s worth.

The set, designed by Barrus and built by him and his father, Jodie, takes advantage of all areas of the theater-in-the-round with clever use of a false balcony for a hilarous bit involving cottege cheese.

This is a good one. See it.

With co-stage management by David Sorter and Amy Wolff Sorter, sound and lights by G. Aaron Siler and costumes by Emily Warwick, “The Nerd” is presented at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Saturdays through Jan. 24 at the Plaza Theatre Company, 111 S. Main St. in Cleburne.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $14 for age 65 and older and high school and college students, and $13 for children age 13 and under — and can be purchased online at http://www.plaza-theatre.com, or at the box office from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, or by phone at 817-202-0600.

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