Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Enter Laughing" Has Lakewood Amused

Cleveland Press May 6, 1965

Lakewood Little Theater is closing its 35th season with "Enter Laughing," a slight but amusing comedy that has about it an aura of freshness.

Joseph Stein's play based on Carl Reiner's novel is about the yearnings of a lad to become an actor. A delivery boy in a sewing machine factory is what he is. A druggist is what his parents want him to be. Acting is what he longs for.

HE ENROLLS in a phony drama school run by a seedy actor. It is a place in which the duped are given parts in plays, charged a fee for the privilege. The audience is allowed in for nothing and the collection plate is passed later.

There are conflicts with his employer, his parents and his girl -- none of them terribly complicated but most of them fairly amusing.

The play builds up to his debut on stage, a disaster that ends in laughter.

DAVID STEWART portrays the would-be actor as sincere but confused a wide-eyed innocent. He is at his best when he throws out his arms and lifts his voice in an imitation of every bad actor who ever ventured on stage. His stage struck debut has some fine inventiveness about it, the best in the play.

James Anderson has some good moments as the disreputable actor strutting about trying to impress the suckers.

JANE BRUGGEMAN and Daniel Ensel as the parents and James Wilcox as the boy's boss are involved in some funny moments, but some of the scenes are serious and at these points the play bogs down. There isn't much the actors can do about it.

Tony Hoty provides impact in his appearances as the young man's eager buddy, ready to discuss life and love but mostly love.

Lakewood Little Theater has come up with some ingenious sets on its revolving non-motorized, stage-hand drawn) stage.