“We've had very good crowds for this show,” said RPP Artistic Director Michele Strauss. “So many attended we ran out of programs.”
Martin's Myra is an aging actress who has played a lucrative yet idiotic acting role for too many years. Now she's searching for some peace and quiet in the backwoods of Beaver Haven but her well-meaning neighbors just won't leave her be. She creates a faux insane sister in order to scare off the unwelcome attention but the idea eventually backfires in a funny way.
Martin and the entire seven-member cast deserve praise for their performances. Martin has an effervescent smile and a winning stage presence although her performance would be enhanced by memorizing her lines. Despite that minor distraction, few actresses made a greater impact on this year's RPP stage.
Donna Hadley, a Lemon Bay Playhouse veteran making her first Boca Grande appearance, teamed with Vivian Rica in consistently comic roles as the nosy neighbors.
Dan Headington played Tom, the agent trying to woo Myra back to the bright lights and his bed, with characteristic affability.
Charlie Tyler's offbeat hillbilly Piney had a stoic New England accent and a disturbing crush on Myra's psychotic creation. The powerful-smelling Piney, a pungent manure-seller whose visits always bring out the air spray, also had many of the play's funnier lines.
Smaller roles went to the always enjoyable Sandi Wood as the psychic Willa, and David Jenkins in a cameo as the Sheriff called to determine if a murder has been committed.
“Tomatoes” was a satisfying close to this year's RPP season although its two-hour running time was a bit of a stretch on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon. Strauss rightly praised the audience for attending when the sunny 85-degree day was so enticing.
Erica Ress Martin, center, takes a bow for the starring role in “A Bad Year for Tomatoes” while flanked by Charlie Tyler and Dan Headington.