While the play left some slightly confused, everyone was entertained

Having never seen “Almost, Maine,” going into opening night at Sandy Actor’s Theatre, I didn’t know what to expect. At 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, the theater parking lot was packed, the show was sold out and there was but one available seat for me. The seat was in the back, so I was a little worried, but the cast of “Almost, Maine” projected the story all the way to the back of the house.

“Almost, Maine” is a collection of short stories about love and how it affects the residents of the small “almost” town. Many of the stories are quirky, using common figures of speech and tangible actions to describe love.

But the Sandy Actors Theatre presentation of “Almost, Maine” was anything but conventional.

The show’s confusing opening involved musical entertainment that showcased the cast’s talents. Dan Bosserman began by juggling and playing the harmonica. Anthony Lehman Bucci joined in on an African-style drum. Olivia Welch played the piano, and Kaia Maarja Hillier played the saxophone. Together they performed an exaggerated rendition of a Beatles ballad. After that, the scene went dark, the house lights dimmed and the play was announced.

A simple set and staging emerged to keep the script easy to follow. Despite the usual opening night hiccups — a few stuttered lines and a missed lighting cue — the cast and crew kept the show moving forward.

The music was simple, with Bosserman and Lehman Bucci continuing their ensemble between and throughout some of the scenes. While Bosserman’s harmonica kept up the small-town feel, the African drum, while beautifully played, felt a little out of place.

While the quirky, disjointed story was a somewhat confusing at first, it began to grow on me, and soon I was caught up in the characters. The audience seemed receptive to the story and engaged with the cast’s portrayals.

Overall it was cute, fun entertainment for a Valentine’s Day night.

Contract Publishing

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