A Good Ol’ Play About Some Good Ol’ Friends

Late January is a good time to settle back with some good old friends and do whatever you enjoy the most.

The Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown has mounted a production of a good old play about a trio of good old friends whose idea of Heaven is successful ice fishing and an occasional visit to see the Packers play. ”Guys on Ice” by Fred Alley and James Kaplan is written about the Swedish-American towns in Wisconsin, but it could very well be taking place right here in our own county.

Marvin and Lloyd have been spending their winters between the fish and the pigskin for decades, and they’re apt to be doing it for more decades. On the day the play takes place, Lloyd has had a little ”bump in the road” with his wife, while Marvin has been invited to be a guest on the local cable channel’s ice fishing show.

Those events keep the pair a bit on edge, but mostly, they’re snug in their snowmobile suits, they have a pail filled with cans of their favorite brand of beer, they each have learned a couple of new jokes about how Lars and Ole set out on vacation, and if the fish aren’t biting, they don’t mind all that much.

Vince Joy and Skip Anderson play the down home boys with a down home charm which is impossible not to feel. The songs of the play aren’t much, but they’re cute, and the guys have a lot of fun with them.

Jim Foley plays a buddy of the main pair, who has a reputation as something of a moocher, and he drops in from time to time to share a bit of gossip and to scrounge around for some free bait, and maybe a beer or two. He also runs a comic game show during the play’s intermission in which those who wish to answer a question are supposed to wave their hands and cry out ”Okey Dokey!”

Director Helen Merrill wisely understood that this isn’t a play about a perfectly balanced stage picture nor a perfectly projected high note. It’s casual, down home fun, and she has offered it to us, as on a plate.

Pianist Lucille Miller and drummer Basil Gedz provided all the accompaniment the guys on the stage needed, and did it well. Choreographer Tiffany Wakeley Heintzman got the boys moving without demanding more than an energetic shuffle.

The fishing shanty in which virtually the entire action takes place was designed and built by Norm Merrill.

It won’t stimulate your intellect, but it may very well tickle your funny bone and send you home with a smile on your face.

”Guys on Ice” repeats this evening, tomorrow, and Feb. 1-3 at the LBLTJ’s own facility on East Second St., in downtown Jamestown.