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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

RV Players present 'The Mouse That Roared'

Monday, November 24, 2008

Easy does it! In this hilarious scene from the RV Players' The Mouse That Roared, a nervous Professor Kokintz (Jared Ludwig) warns the Grand Fenwick folks that it might behoove them to be careful with the Q-Bomb, an explosive device that could wipe Europe off the face of the map. The comedy was presented on November 22 and 23 in the RV auditorium. Photo by Ron Flewelling.
On November 22 and 23, the young thespians from the River Valley Speech and Drama Club once again took to the boards as they presented their fall production.

This time around, they toed the mark to "The Mouse That Roared," a rollicking three-act comedy penned by Leonard Wibberly.

The action of this story centers around Grand Fenwick, a minuscule country located "somewhere near the Alps."

Grand Fenwick, which is ruled by a 22-year-old Duchess, was founded way back in the 1300's by a band of roving English archers.

The trouble is that besides its colorful past, Grand Fenwick doesn't have a whole lot going for it outside of a local wine, a few birds and an unusual native mouse.

When the play opens, it is learned that the country is in a downward spiral into bankruptcy.

As a solution to the financial woes, Grand Fenwick's Duchess Gloriana decides to instigate a conflict with the United States.

As uneven as the contest might seem, there is a bit of method to the Grand Fenwick royal's madness...

After studying the subject, Gloriana has come to the conclusion that the fastest way to obtain wealth is to lose a war with the U. S.

After all, history shows that the humanitarian Americans have a great track record of pouring buckets of money into a vanquished country for aid and relief.

Duchess Gloriana's plan is simple: Declare war on the U. S., lose that war and then just sit back and watch the money roll into the Grand Fenwick coffers.

Duchess Gloriana appoints Tully Bascom as the leader of the Grand Fenwick army.

Since the country can't afford modern weaponry like artillery and machine guns, Grand Fenwick's brave band heads off to war armed with their traditional weapon, namely the English longbow.

Invading America by way of a fishing boat, the Grand Fenwick troops led by Tully go on the attack.

Following a series of misadventures that include capturing a secret weapon, stout-hearted heroic Tully and his loyal bowmen do the impossible...

They win.

The last half of the play is loaded with back-to-back hilarious scenes as both Grand Fenwick and America cope with this landmark event.

All I will say is that it includes a Q-Bomb, a hyped-up professor, the President of the United States, several POW's including a general, a bit of diplomacy and a little royal romance.

The Mouse That Roared, which was ably directed by RV's resident old theater hand Margaret Witt, included the talents of nearly 50 cast and crew members, most of them familiar to those who follow the exploits of the powerhouse RV Speech team.

Although the entire cast exceled in this production, there were indeed a few standouts.

Emily Todd, for example, was fittingly royal as Grand Fenwick's "Duchess Gloriana." She played the part with just the right mixture of innocent young girl and crafty politician that made her a delight to watch.

Scott O'Connell is the real deal in the role of "Tully Bascom." He portrayed his character as a part-bumbler and part-serious minded fellow who is always ready to step forward when a hero is needed.

Anthony Volkert as the blustering "General Snippet" also has a lot of fun with his part, a little comedic extra that makes all of his scenes a blast to watch.

To say that Jared Ludwig had the character of "Professor Kokintz" nailed down tight would be an understatement. He underplays the hyper-nervous inventor of the Q-Bomb to just the right degree, making him a guaranteed scene stealer in this one.

Much of the charm of The Mouse That Roared" was due to the way director Margaret Witt staged the comedy.

The entire auditorium was used during the production with certain scenes staged in the wings as well as characters entering and exiting through the aisles, a little perk that made the audience feel as if they were part of the action.

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