What do you get when you put together five social misfits, three comically vindictive stepchildren and the nominal matriarch of a family? It can be none other than "The Curious Savage," which was produced by Hammond High School last week.

Written by John Patrick, this semi-farce is set in the 1940s after World War II. After the death of her husband, Mrs. Ethel Savage is committed to an institution (the Cloisters) by her money-hungry stepchildren. As the story unfolds, we learn that Ethel Savage may behave erratically, but her shrewdness and a penchant for mischief outfox her would-be guardians, Samuel, Titus and Lily Belle, to the tune of $10 million. With help from Dr. Emmett and Miss Wilhelmina at the Cloisters, Mrs. Savage keeps the money and learns some important life lessons.

Hammond's production of "The Curious Savage" gave the audience a memorable cast. The "guests" at the Cloisters are actually more sane than people on the outside. Ayma Rouhani's performance as Fairy May, with her child-like innocence and uncanny knack to say whatever is on her mind, was the comic core of the play. The opposite of Fairy May, with her constant chatter, was Mrs. Paddy (Mandy Murti). Murti captured Mrs. Paddy's defiant personality and illustrated her hatred for everything through her passion-filled speeches. The cast also included Hannibal (John Hamilton), Florence (Shannon Nabors) and Jeffrey (Zac Cooke), whose performances added to the play's overall success.

Kelsey Girard was outstanding as the pretentious and coy Lily Belle Savage. Her deceptive brothers, Titus (Jeremy Brickey) and Samuel (Dustin Morris) provided high energy and sometimes boisterous performances.

The stage crew, led by Corey Lissik, was perfectly on cue. The actors performed well without the use of body microphones, although it was sometimes difficult to understand what they were saying. In all, Hammond High School's production of "The Curious Savage" was a resounding success that surely would have pleased the playwright.

Ashley Smith

Mount Hebron High School