Bob lived a strange life right from the beginning. Abandoned by his birth mother in the restroom of a White Castle in Louisville Kentucky, and adopted by the employee who found him, they wander across the U.S. living out of her beige Chevy Malibu for the next 12 years and then she dies. On his own, Bob lives for the next 12 years behind the restrooms at an interstate rest area, and that is only the beginning.
Bob is the central character in Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s same-titled play that opened Sunday on the B Street Theater Mainstage. To say that Nachtrieb has written a very imaginative play is an understatement. As the story follows Bob from birth to his senior years, characters connected to him show up throughout his life; his birth parents, the cop who loved his adoptive mother and a host of other “out there” folks.
While this may sound like it could sad and depressing, “BOB” is actually an extremely funny play.
“Bob” is played by former B Street acting intern and now company member, Peter Story. Story has performed in several roles on stage at B Street including another Nachtrieb play, “Boom.” Late night TV fans may recognize him as the head of the Jay Leno Dance Crew on, “The Tonight Show.” Story is very good at the physical comedy that is popular with the B Street creative team and audiences. His Bob goes from a believable, albeit adult-sized, newborn to a shaggy, grizzled senior all the while evoking uproarious laughter.
The four other actors in “BOB” are titled, the Chorus. They become the different people and creatures, as in wolves, lions and others in Bob’s life. They also form a Greek Chorus announcing each of the five acts to Bob’s life. A different chorus member also does a short interpretive dance for each act.
Among the several characters, John Lamb plays the cop who is in love with Bob’s adoptive mother. One of his funniest characters is the droll, uppity man servant during Bob’s wealthy period. Lamb, a long time B Street regular, is incredibly funny.
Another very long time B Street company member, Michael Stevenson, takes on some of the more “out there” characters. Stevenson is believably crazy as a wild animal trainer turned hobo who, through a one-night stand, is Bob’s father.
Elly Award winning actress Kristine David is making her B Street Theatre Mainstage debut. She is Bob’s birth mother turned wild animal trainer. David is also quite adept at morphing into multiple characters.
Lyndsy Kail has become very familiar with Sacramento audiences since her introduction in, “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Sacramento Theatre Company’s season opener this year, and her follow-up role starring in, “The Owl and the Pussycat,” also at STC. Kail most recently starred in, “Searching for Eden,” at B Street. Along with her very funny portrayal of several characters in “Bob,” she is very loving and sweet as Bob’s adoptive mother.
Director and associate producer Jerry Montoya, along with assistant director Laura Baker, make good use of the actors’ comedic abilities. They move the action rapidly along with the laughs pouring out.
Catherine Frye has created a set that is a wonder to behold. It is a sort of junkyard chic with numerous auto body parts, an assembly area for the crates and crates of props and a Jackson Pollock paint scheme.
Costumes by Paulette Sand Gilbert, lighting by Linnae Vana and sound design by Laura Baker and Jerry Montoya all add to the effect.
Stage manager Tracy Prybyla has her hands full cuing all the action.
B Street Theatre staff discovered the perfect play to produce with Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s, “BOB.” The rapid fire humor is totally suited for the creative team and acting company members. Every time I think I have seen the funniest play B Street theatre has ever produced, they come along with another. “BOB” is a sure-fire candidate for B Street’s funniest play ever.
Forget your troubles, come out and see “BOB” and laugh along with everyone else at someone whose troubles are downright funny.