‘Are We There Yet’ Offers Plenty Of Laughs

“Are We There Yet?” opened Friday and continues this evening at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown. The series of vignettes were written by James Hindman, Ray Roderick and Cheryl Stern. Submitted photos

Ensemble acting at its best, plenty of humor, and the occasional lump in the throat. That’s “Are We There Yet?” which opened Friday and continues this evening at the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown.

“Are We There Yet?” written by James Hindman, Ray Roderick and Cheryl Stern, with music by John Glaudini, and directed by Adam Owens, is a series of vignettes showing various fragments of family life, and the cast of eight deftly plays multiple parts, from annoying teens to tottering grandmothers. Actors Paige Cummings, Skyler Dunlap, Rachel Ekstrom, Emily Hanson, Kimberly Larson, Peter Larson, Adam Owens and Theresa (Tess) Pagliuca all manage multiple roles convincingly whether dancing in a chorus line, or delivering heartfelt soliloquies.

The play opens with two families driving to a vacation destination, complete with “Are we there yet?” and, when backseat bickering becomes too much, the driver saying, “Don’t make me stop the car!” Finally, one tired parent says, “There’s no such thing as ‘fun for the entire family.'”

What follows is one scene after another of family life that we all recognize, either in our own families or in the family of someone we know. The first scene is of a pregnant couple already thinking about pre-school enrollment for their child, and the final scene shows a brother and sister driving their parents to a retirement condo in Florida. In between, there’s a little of everything, including a parent obsessed with her son’s performance in baseball who shrugs off the fact that another mother has run over the umpire with her car. “He’ll survive,” she says with a shrug, as another parent prays that her son will finally hit the ball.

I wanted to mention just two or three of my favorite scenes, until I realized that I liked them all. Two mention dogs, so they were at the top of my list, with Schnauzers figuring in the blind date scene, and a Yorkie winning praise from its owner, who says her dog is more attentive than her children. My husband enjoyed the grandmother with the walker, pushing a baby stroller. Oh, and the father intimidating his daughter’s prom date was wonderful.

The play is a comedy and there are plenty of laughs, but there are also some surprisingly touching moments, such as the father-of-the-bride sketch and the woman whose gay son and his partner are adopting a baby, and how happy she is to become a grandmother.

While the songs are not particularly memorable, they’re executed with plenty of pizzazz and with jazzy dancing choreographed by Paige Cummings.

Jason Dorman and Norm Merrill put together a functional, if minimalist set, a necessity when you’re dealing with fifteen or so different locations. The turntable center stage made changes between scenes efficient, and the eight boxes, with a few props added, became everything from a roller coaster to a church pew. Melissa Vullo managed props and costuming and sound design was by Kerry and Mike Cope.

Treat yourself, this weekend or next, to a lovely little comedy at Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown. Performances continue today at 7:30 p.m., Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. and June 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, June 10, at 2:30 p.m.

For tickets, visit www.lucilleballlittletheatre.org or call or visit the box office at 483-1095, Tuesday through Friday between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. Tickets will also be available at the door.