'Fruitcakes' has holiday cheer
"Fruitcakes" presents all the stereotypical small-town characters getting ready for the Christmas holiday in the fictional town of McCord's Ferry.
From a hillbilly neighbor who's laced his family's home in copious amount of Christmas lights, to elderly sisters who constantly feud, and the annual town Christmas play whose cast of children has succumbed to chicken pox, "Fruitcakes" will raise laughter from audiences as they watch the antics on stage.
Two young actors, Peter Loikits (Ryan Coleman) and Katie Gigler (Sue Dantzler), take the audience through the trials and tribulations of teenage affection as their characters try to find their places in the small town.
"Fruitcakes" is directed with impish charm by Robert Callan Adams, who also is costume coordinator for the cheerful show.
Ryan (Loikits) runs away and finds himself in McCord's Ferry, a far cry from his home in the big city. In a case of mistaken identity, Ryan spends the duration of the play posing as the grandson of the town Christmas Tree Farm owner Mack Morgan, portrayed by Bob Bennicoff.
The story focuses mainly around Ryan's attempts to fit into the picture of country living and his struggle to decide whether he will ever return home, but as the play goes on, the audience learns that Mack (Bennicoff) has his own father-son relationship troubles in need of resolve.
The cast and crew make fantastic use of the three sets the play centers around, a perfect fit for The Pennsylvania Playhouse, Bethlehem, where the play continues through Dec. 16.
In addition to many laughs, the play also contains some elements of sadness when an unexpected death in the neighborhood rocks McCord's Ferry. When Ryan's true identity is revealed, it's hard not to be sympathetic for Sue (Gigler), who feels duped by Ryan's lie.
In the end, every storyline in "Fruitcakes" is wrapped up as neatly as a Christmas present and the audience is left with a feeling of great satisfaction that things in McCord's Ferry will be alright this holiday season.