‘Archangels Don’t Play Pinball’ has energy, humor, but no plot line quality

April 4, 2016

Rachel Librach
[email protected]

RATING: 3/5 Stars

Theatreworks’ “Archangels Don’t Play Pinball” is a goofy play composed of slapstick humor and a series of unfortunate events.

While the student actors put in great effort memorizing their parts, the play itself was disjointed and repetitive.

The play dates back to 1959 where it was first composed by Dario Fo and performed in Italy.

“Archangels don’t play pinball with people’s lives,” is a metaphor used throughout the play to symbolize the main character’s sense of initial betrayal and confusion for the events that have taken place in his life.

The play features a gullible man named Lofty (Alex Williams), who is tricked by his devious gang of friends. Lofty goes through many hilarious trials and tribulations throughout the play, including having his identity mixed up.

The play opens on a group of Milanese men who are all trying to play a prank on the local baker and scam him out of 100,000 liras (Italian currency).

After the gang gets their money, they continue with their plan to convince their gullible friend, Lofty, that he is marrying an Arabian princess, when, in reality, she is a mere prostitute.

Lofty confides in his new bride, Blondie (Chloe Kishkiras), that he isn’t as idiotic as he seems, but plays the part so that he can scam his friends.

Lofty is found out by his friends and decides to leave to Rome.

After Lofty leaves, his paperwork is mixed up with a labrador retriever’s. The only way to remedy this is for Lofty to impersonate a dog. He is purchased by a circus owner, but he runs away and convinces everyone that he is a senator.

It was easy to be drawn into the action and amused by the exaggerated humor and practical jokes.

Theatreworks’ rendition of “Archangels Don’t Play Pinball” was a chaotic and often times exhausting series of events that conveys the unpredictable and illogical game that is life.

Revolving around the metaphor that a higher being plays with people’s lives like a game of pinball, this play is impractical and humorous to an extent.

The quality of acting by students was evident. Each actor had tremendous energy, running around the stage, climbing the props and delivering paragraphs of dialogue at such a fast pace that one could get lost in the conversation.

Student actor Trey Burns did an exceptional job playing not one, but five different roles throughout the play, keeping the identity of each character clear and separate. Ranging from a French pastry cook to a womanizing senator, Burns was consistently entertaining.

Williams portrayed just the right amount of silly in his own character to make all the scenes seem appropriate for Lofty to be stumbling through. His charismatic stage presence drew in and amused the audience by the exaggerated humor and practical jokes.

The play itself was fast-paced with a lot of dialogue crammed into every scene. The events themselves seemed so disjointed from one another that it gave the impression of no real story line.

The stage was simple and circus themed. While the play didn’t seem to have a consistent circus theme, other props were carried in between scenes to better depict the action. The songs were humorous and enjoyable, but the comedy was often repetitious and resembled slapstick humor.

The Lowdown

What: ‘Archangels Don’t Play Pinball’
When: Until April 10
Thursdays – Saturdays 7:30 p.m.
Saturday matinee (April 9) at 2:00 p.m.
Sundays at 4:00 p.m.
Where: Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater
How Much: Free to Students