By Tim Gregory
based on the book by Tim Downs
Directed by Tim Gregory
At Provision Theater, Chicago
Cute, heart-warming morality tale of faith awaits
Provision Theater is dedicated to mounting work of “hope, reconciliation and redemption” and their latest is a World Premiere comedy – Wonders Never Cease written and directed by Tim Gregory based on Tim Downs’ book. This is a Lifetime TV-like comedy filled with valid morality lessons that deals with angels and hope. This is a sweet, family-friendly show that presents the wonderment about angels as messengers from God. Do angels exist and do they act as guardians for humans? Wonders Never Cease deals with that as it is a morality tale about faith, belief and ethics.
This production utilizes video projections to introduce the plot as well as setting up the locations for each scene. Liv Hayden (Holly Bittinger) is an aging movie star who lives a casting meeting in a rage that results in her getting in a injury auto crash. She ends up in the ICU where she is attended to by nurse Kemp McAvoy (Ryan Kitley) – a doctor-want-to-be who lives with nurse Natalie (Katherine Banks) and their 7 year old girl – Leah (Caroline Heffernan).
The film diva, Liv, is in a medical induced coma to prevent further injury. Kemp is a frustrated poor nurse desperate to make both money and gain self-respect, devises a plan to fulfill is needs. When he realizes that a spiritual bestseller (Lattes With God) sold 12 million copies and that his girl’s daughter Leah claims to see angels, he concocts a plan to create another spiritual book by sub-conscientiously programing the near-comatose Liv with images of an angel so that when she awakes, she’ll remember being ‘visited’ by an angel. Kemp gets the publisher Wes Kalaman (Michael Wollner) and his loan-shark associate Tino Gambati (Sean Bolger) together with Liv’s agent Marty Biederman) to help his publishing plot unfold.
Meanwhile, little Leah continues to ‘see’ angels thus alarming her school authorities who wants her to get an MRI to see if she has brain damage. Her mother Natalie is torn about Leah’s condition and she gets no help from Kemp who is busy with his plot. At various key times,the hospital’s janitor, Emmet (Frederick Paul Williams) arrives as a calming influence.
Filled with some preposterous comic scenes, Wonders Never Cease nimbly deals with the power and influence of angels as messengers. Did Leah really see angels and did Liv actually see a real angle besides the fake angel Kemp? And did Leah’s vision lead to events that saved her life? See this cute show and decide for yourself. This fast paced show has some silliness and surely stretches credulity but it has enough heart , mystery and wonderment to be worthy. Katherine Banks, as Natalie and Ryan Kitley, as Kemp, were outstanding. Each character ultimately get his/her justice guided by a possible angel or simply a mensch? The lessons here are admirable.
Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast
Date Reviewed: may 7, 2011
At Provision Theater, 1001 W. Roosevelt Road, Chicago, IL, www.provisiontheater.org, tickets $28 – $25, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, running time is 2 hours, 20 minutes, through May 8, 2011