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Review: 'The Nerd' a perfect cure for the winter blues

| Friday, March 1, 2013, 12:11 a.m.

If you're looking for a way to escape the winter blues, the Grand Theatre in Elizabeth has the cure.

Mon River Arts' production of Larry Shue's “The Nerd” continues Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Theater-goers can come dressed in their nerdiest attire, with voting for the best outfit at intermission.

Although the show takes place in 1979, the groundwork was put into place about 10 years earlier when Willum Cubbert was injured in Vietnam and his unconscious body dragged off the battlefield. He eventually found out who helped him and they starting corresponding, and on Willum's birthday Rick Steadman calls and says he's coming to visit the man he rescued. Excitement turns to annoyance as the very nerdy Steadman quickly gets on everyone's nerves.

Jaime Scott nails the stereotypical mannerisms associated with nerdiness. From the naive way of not realizing he's being mocked to the assumption he will be staying permanently with Willum, he is more than convincing. His attire — glasses with masking tape, white shirt and bow tie — adds to the personification.

Willum is played by Dave McDonald, who does a good job showing his frustration with his “friend.” His dilemma of how to get rid of his guest is played well and the “leave now” speech is convincing.

Katy Grant as Willum's girlfriend Tansy is good and her facial expressions are priceless. Their tell-it-like-it-is friend Axel is wonderfully portrayed by Leighann Calamera.

Three others get caught up in the ill-timed visit — hotel owner Warock Waldgrave (Keller Lowman), his wife Clelia (Laura Palko) and son Thor (Josef Raszewski). Each performer does a fine job bringing out the quirkiness of their characters, which adds to the zaniness of the story.

“The Nerd” will have you laughing, often just by the sight gags throughout the show, but the language is a bit strong at times. If you want to spend a few hours of mindless fun, create your nerdiest outfit and visit the Grand Theatre this weekend.

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or cfrazier@tribweb.com.

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