Wonder of the World Review


Daniel O'Brien

Haley Jacobson and Justin Craigmile.

Daniel O'Brien, A&E Editor

The Black Box’s stage production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Wonder of the World” will leave you scratching your head in laughter with its nonsensical absurdities.
The play begins with Cass (Turi Jystad) leaving her husband Kip (Fernando Tabares) without any good reason. Armed with a list of all the things she’s wanted to do in life, Cass ventures to Niagara Falls and, along the way, meets a suicidal drunk (Haley Jacobson), a lonely boat captain (Justin Craigmile), a doddering, old, private investigator couple (Jessa Roberts and Alexander Blake Pikala), and a clown marriage counselor (Madeline Hentges).
It is the chemical interaction between the characters that gives “Wonder of the World” its humor. On their own, the characters are still absurd. For example, it is Captain Mike’s addiction to Costco products that caused a giant, peanut butter jar to drop on his wife and kill her. Once Cass’ actions bring the characters together is when the hilarity ensues.
Cass turns out to be the true wonder of the world. Her scatterbrained personality and sheltered perspectives on life and love make her a manic chatterbox. The most random things come out of her mouth. For instance, she tells Lois (Haley Jacobsen) that one of the items on her bucket list is to have a lesbian encounter. Lois declines.
A newcomer to the Black Box, Turi Jystad plays an impressive Cass. Jystad was the understudy for the role and still required the use of a script onstage. The script was hardly noticeable since she integrates it into the play as her bucket list. Along with her high-strung display of emotions, her acting proves to be skilled and flexible.
Haley Jacobsen also pleases the audience as Lois. Her plan to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel is ridiculous mainly in that she carries a large barrel with her everywhere. Her angry, drunken tirades and making Karla (Jessa Roberts) her servant, Yaya as Lois calls her, grant her memorable performance.
Another newcomer, Fernando Tabares, gives a weird, but funny, performance as Cass’ husband, Kip. His frantic, panicky personality goes perfectly with his vain efforts to please a woman who is no longer in love with him. His ridiculous facial expressions are also highly amusing. For example, as he is driving to Niagara Falls, he maintains a wide-eyed stare and shakes nervously.
When you visit Niagara Falls in “Wonder of the World,” you are guaranteed to get barrels full of laughs and a newfound disgust for Barbie heads.