REVIEWSREVIEWS BYSally Jo OsborneTheatre Reviews


World Premiere Musical based


on the book by K.G. Campbell

Directed by Heather Currie

Script by Aly Renee Amidei      

  Music by Scott Tallarida

Lyrics by Aly Renee Amidei, Julie Tallarida and Scott Tallarida

Playing at Lifeline Theatre, Chicago

“An outlandish, oddly humorous story about a fastidious boy named Lester and his not so snazzy sweaters!”

What do you do when Cousin Clara’s cottage is consumed by a crocodile? What if she isn’t even really a cousin? Lester is simply suspicious of this ridiculous tall tale because, “Cottages aren’t meant for munching.” Add it to the list of “Suspicious Stuff Starting with a C” says Lester.  Now let me explain.  Lester likes his life to be in perfect order and really enjoys making lists. He measures his socks so they are exactly in the same place below his knee daily and he likes to comb his hair to the left, but then switches it back to the right. He does not enjoy skipping or having fun with other kids because it could lead to injury and he is very wise beyond his years and prefers predictability.  Some would call him a bit persnickety, however, he prefers fastidious.


So when Cousin Clara moves in, his world is turned upside down a bit because he likes things just so. When she presents him with a hand knitted sweater as a gift, he is courteous and grateful yet mortified and embarrassed to wear it. A hooded yellow mustard sweater with purple pom-poms, one arm longer than the other and holes where there should not be holes.  Lester is a thoughtful young man and did not want to hurt her feelings and so wears it to school as his parents instructed him to do. He was in disarray and even had one sock down way below his knee that day. He put up with relentless criticism and then “accidentally” got mud all over it when he decided to play with the other kids on the playground for the first time ever! Lester did have fun playing in the mud and destroying that sweater and went home and tell Cousin Clara the bad news. 

Cousin Clara is understanding and seems to have an endless supply of dreadful knitted sweaters just waiting for Lester to wear. “Accidents” just keep happening whenever Lester wears a new sweater. This causes anxiety and nightmares for poor Lester and he needs to figure out a solution. When he gets invited to a Birthday Party he gladly accepts and wears a famously feathered hand knitted chicken suit that appeals to the hired clowns with the noisy noses.  They want more of the fabulously freaky sweaters and so there was the solution to Lester’s conundrum.  Cousin Clara and the Clowns hit the road (sounds like that could be a sequel). Cousin Clara has a new home, the clowns have a costume designer and Lester has his orderly life back.


There are some very snappy and engaging musical numbers such as Fastidious Life, Predictability, and Expect the Unexpected. The CD is available in the box office and is fun and worth the $10.

The small and talented cast plays dual roles and did a great job of it since my 9 year old Ella did not know they were the same people playing different roles. Cast includes:  Sam Button-Harrison (Lester) a very funny and believable character reminiscent of Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors, Elizabeth Levy (Cousin Clara, Enit, Bandit) think Paula Dean meets SNL, the multi-talented  Amanda Roeder (Mother, Beck, Bandit, Clown), and  Scott Sawa (Father, Ben, Bandit, Clown). Lastly, Chris Vizurraga (Mr. Twist, Bandit, Clown) think Welcome Back Kotter enters the 20th Century.

Discovery’s a thrill so explore this show and have fun with your friends and family.  “Life’s Like a Sweater my Friend”.  Enjoy!


Sally Jo Osborne

[email protected]

Date Reviewed:  March 20, 2016

For more information check out Lester’s Dreadful Sweaters page at

Playing at LifeLine Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood Ave, Chicago, IL call 773-761-4477, tickets $15.00 (Group discounts available), Saturdays and Sundays at 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, running time is 1 hour-no intermission, through April 24, 2016 (no performances Easter Sunday, March 27).