Audiences will relate to ‘Leaving Iowa’
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
The latest comedic offering at PowPAC, Poway’s Community Theatre, tells the tale of Don Browning who is searching for the most appropriate spot for his late father’s ashes. When Don (played aptly by Nathan Boyer) cannot spread them at the most logical place — grandparent’s home — he goes on journeys both in the present day and through his childhood memories in search of a new location.
Much of the play’s humor comes through those memories of long, frustrating and less than enjoyable family vacations planned by his father (Sam Warner). While the dad tries to come up with “fascinating” vacations for his wife, son and daughter, he picks the most boring, out of the way places every year despite complaints from his children who tell him they prefer to visit their grandparents or see popular tourist destinations.
Though they are adults, Boyer and Christine Gatlin, who plays “Sis,” do well portraying children in the flashbacks, complete with the typical sibling arguments and annoyances that are likely to be expected to occur when two youngsters are confined to a car’s backseat for hours on end.
Mom (Cheryl Warner) is enjoyable in her role of family referee and peacemaker, and Sam Warner is convincing as the headstrong, I-know-what’s-best-for-my-family patriarch.
Rounding out the cast are three impressive supporting actors for their versatility. Pati Reynolds plays 10 widely different characters, while Bud Emerson takes on eight roles and Evan Jones four.
While the plot is entertaining, the play can get tedious at times since many of the flashbacks are so similar. If a few of those scenes were edited out the play would still be effective, but without creating — at least to this reviewer — an at times frustrated, monotonous feeling in the audience that is reflective of the frustration and boredom felt by Don and his sister during the vacations.
“Leaving Iowa” can be seen at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. on Sundays through July 22 at PowPAC, 13250 Poway Road in Poway. To access the elevator and handicapped parking, go behind the theater.
Tickets are $18 general admission and $15 for seniors 60-plus, students and active military. To reserve a ticket, send an email to email@example.com or call 858-679-8085. Payments are at the door with cash or checks only. For details, go to www.powpac.org.
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