Lisa Ermel as Kay Banks consoles Jeff Stockberger as her father Stanley Banks, in "Father of the Bride"

Lisa Ermel as Kay Banks consoles Jeff Stockberger as her father Stanley Banks, in “Father of the Bride”

Mrs. K and I headed out on a beautiful summer night recently to attend the latest Beef and Board offering – Father of the Bride, adapted for the stage by Caroline Francke from the novel of the same name, and directed with a flourish by Eddie Curry. As expected, we had a rather fun evening all around.

The tale is a familiar one, having come to us previously as a classic 1950 film starring Spencer Tracy and Liz Taylor, then as a 1991 remake with Steve Martin and Diane Keaton. The story centers on the stresses of planning and preparation for a daughter’s wedding, and especially the father’s inability to come to terms with the daughter growing up, his financial limitations and the entirely tiresome effort needed to plan, procure and pay for what everyone agreed would be a small affair, which has grown to be a major event.

The acting is very effective overall. B&B favorite, Jeff Stockberger, takes the title role of the put-upon father, Stanley Banks, and gives it an explosive performance, laced with his wonderful talent for physical comedy. Kristin Lennox as Mrs. Banks is the perfect counter to her husband’s difficulties as she strives for a calming assuredness while relishing the prospects of a huge wedding. Lisa Ermel is lovely and well-cast as Kay Banks, the bride who doesn’t seem to know exactly what she wants; and Ben Tebbe is endearing as the mostly confused groom, Buckley Dunston.

Jeff Stockberger as Stanley Banks, Ivory McKay as Mr. Massoula and Kristin Lennox as Mrs. Banks in "Father of the Bride"

Jeff Stockberger as Stanley Banks, Ivory McKay as Mr. Massoula and Kristin Lennox as Mrs. Banks in “Father of the Bride”

Rounding out the cast are Ivory McKay, portraying the wedding planner, Mr. Massoula, with an astounding flamboyance; Deb Wims, energetically playing Mr. Banks’ precise secretary, Ms. Bellamy; the young and very talented Joseph Mervis, as brother and son Tommy Banks; and Sandra Belles, in a rare stage appearance as Mr. Massoula’s assistant, Butch.

Director Curry has concentrated on the frustrations and comic possibilities of the script, giving the audience a fun and laugh-filled ride through the story. Add to this the colorful set and thoughtful technical aspects (pay attention to the between-scenes music, which enhances the story-telling), and we were treated to an altogether enjoyable evening.

Further enhancement comes with Chef Odell Ward’s delicious buffet (I strongly recommend the “Sweet & Spicy Meatballs with Rice”) and the attentions of B&B’s incredible wait-staff. Summed up, it was another entertaining and satisfying evening at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre.

Father of the Bride continues through September 29th. You can call for reservations and information at the box office (317-872-9664) from 10am to 7pm Tuesday through Sunday and 10am to 5pm on Mondays. The show schedule is available at http://www.beefandboards.com .

* Photos provided by Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

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