Lake George Dinner Theatre’s ‘Skin Deep:’ Perfect Fare for a Summer Evening
By Anthony F. Hall
Thursday, August 4, 2011
Compared with comedy, dying is easy, the old adage goes. It’s one worth remembering when dismissing or dissing sitcoms, summer movies, the collected works of Neil Simon or, for that matter, dinner theater. The Lake George Dinner Theatre’s current production, “Skin Deep,” had its audience quaking with laughter, which is not something you or I could make happen. So give credit where credit is due: “Skin Deep” is well-crafted, well-executed comedy.
In ‘Skin Deep,’ Sheila Whiting (played by Monica Cangero) arranges a blind date for her over-weight, under-sexed sister, Maureen (Emily Mikesell), with a shy, over-weight Italian-American named Joe (Stephen Pelletier) who operates a restaurant in Brooklyn with his brother. Contrasted with Maureen and Joe are Sheila and her husband Squire (Dennis Holland), prosperous and, with help from the gym for Squire and plastic surgery for Sheila, good looking. Will Sheila and Squire learn that beauty is more than skin deep? Will Maureen and Joe find each other? What do you think?
“Skin Deep” is, of course, predictable. As the producer of the Lake George Dinner Theatre and as a director, Terry Rabine knows what his audience wants, and he delivers it. This is show business, and he’s a professional. The predictability of “Skin Deep” is, in fact, a testament to the skills of the playwright, Jon Lonoff, the director and the cast. The punch lines fall, the laughs and the applause arrive, just where they should, something that could be achieved only by a writer, director and cast with impeccable timing.
Moreover, predictability is in the nature of contemporary three-act comedy. It’s not here to subvert or call into question the order of the universe, it’s here to affirm its essential justice. “Skin Deep” does that, delivering love and happiness to those who have earned it.
The Lake George Dinner Theatre’s primary audience comes from group sales and bus tours, but every year we see Lake George residents, seasonal and year-round, who make it a point to see the latest show at least once a summer. And with good reason: Rabine and his predecessor, Vicki Eastwood, have a record of producing affordable, accessible, light entertainment, perfect fare for a summer evening.
The Lake George Dinner Theatre will present ‘Skin Deep’ at the Holiday Inn in Lake George through October 29.
Dinner shows are scheduled for every Wednesday through Saturday nights; luncheon matinees are scheduled for every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with special Saturday matinees throughout the summer. The box office is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm and can be reached at (518) 668-5762 ext. 411.