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Sally Hogarty
May 27, 2010
Contra Costa Times

Melinda Meeng, a popular performer at the Lesher Center who won a Shellie Award for her portrayal of Bloody Mary in Contra Costa Musical Theatre's South Pacific, brings the Tooth Fairy to life in Shotgun Player's production of God's Ear.

The challenging work by Jenny Schwartz looks at grief from the inside out with all the absurdities of a nightmarish state as well as liberal doses of humor.

Of course, when the cast includes the Tooth Fairy, GI Joe and a transvestite flight attendant, you know you're not in Kansas anymore.

Schwartz uses language to show how people rely on cliches and standard modes of behavior to get through difficult situations. Alternatively poignant and hilarious, this is grief on steroids as a husband and wife deal in very different ways with the death of their son.

Ryan O'Donnell, who did a wonderful job as the father in Town Hall's production of Rabbit Hole, plays the husband. Beth Wilmurt and Nika Ezell Pappas are heartbreaking as the wife and daughter with Meeng, Joe Estlack, Keith Pinto, and Zehra Berkman providing a good deal of the comedy.

Part poem, part musical, and part gut-wrenching love story, God's Ear continues through June 20, at The Ashby Stage in Berkeley. Call 510-841-6500 or go to www.shotgunplayers.org.


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