LCT_VThis review has been reposted courtesy of the League of Cincinnati Theatres. For more LCT reviews click here to visit their reviews page.

Miami University’s Found a Peanut, by Donald Marguiles, is about eight children, ages 5-14, on the last day of summer vacation before the new school year begins.  This day, in a Brooklyn yard, they lose their childhood innocence and experience the difficulties of growing up.  While digging a grave to bury a dead bird, they discover a bag filled with money (“It looked like a lot more,” says Jeffery Smolowitz).  The quarrel resulting from their discovery results in greediness, violence and finally leads to the disruption of a friendship. The death of a neighbor coinciding with the death of the bird triggers a change in attitudes as the children start seeing death in relation to themselves.  This may be the death of their summer vacation, but it also the death of innocence and their childhood.

MU_Found a Peanut logo2It takes a few minutes to get past the college actors playing children in this production. The program’s cast list stated their age but several of them, at least, through their physical appearances didn’t match the age described for the characters. Mike (11, played by Richard Dent) is drawing a game on the cement as is milquetoast buddy Jeffrey (also 11, played by Caleb Schemer) hangs around trying to learn to play catch with his Pensy Pinky ball.  Mike’s 8-year-old sister (Jordan Gravely) comes bouncing in troubled that she’s her house keys. for tomorrow she becomes a latch-key kid.  Her fat friend, Joanie (8, discerningly played by Kaela Smith) comes out to play followed by Little Earl (a superb and humorous Aidan McBreen playing a believable 5-year-old).   Nothing much happens.  The day, and the plot, gradually unfold and the summer-time world we all remember just moves along like a long summer day. Playwright Donald Margulies staged the setting behind an apartment building in Brooklyn, NY in 1962, however, this play could have been from any other time period. The only prominent issue to mark the time was mentioning of the movie “Psycho”  which was released in 1960. But the play quickly wears out its welcome as Marguiles plays to stereotypes.  Initially it is an adjustment believing the characters are children, but through the characters you see some of the old neighborhood kids on your block.  It wasn’t the overall script that kept me interested but the individual moments that caught me (and other audience members): the agonizing over picking up a dead bird with two sticks only to quickly push it toward the garden soil; or, Little Earl giving voice to his plastic T-Rex and the epic battle between the Rex and an old roller skate.   Director Joshua Horowitz did his job and it’s evident that he put a lot of thought into the direction. The often overlapping of action and dialogue, unless well-thought and well-rehearsed, could have turned into cacophony. Mr. Horowitz marvelously crafted and developed the young actors throughout the play, especially during those overlapping moments. The compositions, especially with six or seven actors in the play area at one time, were well-orchestrated; however, some of the characters lost their spontaneity when taking over their positions that came across as a taut and rehearsed movement rather than logical steps. The play works very well in the Studio 88 space. Set designer Todd Stuart’s staging is simple yet sublime in recreating the chalked concrete we all remember.  The subtle fencing around the studio space and the choice to play the production “in the round” really brings the joy of the childhood back to our memories. The young performers attempted their best and gave it all they had. Their genuine sincerity was easily sensed as they attempted to make the play a notable one. They must be applauded for that. It is truly commendable to take such initiative developing young actors who will hopefully embrace acting and become pros at it some day in near future.

For more information on the production, click here.



Filed under League of Cincinnati Theatres Reviews

2 responses to “LCT Review of FOUND A PEANUT


    I’m confused. Did you write this review or some anonymous person who is involved with LCT? I won’t read anonymous reviews. Writers need to own their work and their opinions. Donna Hoffman


  2. All LCT reviews are clearly marked in the headline and are filed under League of Cincinnati Theatres Reviews. Yours is not the first complaint I have heard about the anonymous reviews. As the goal of my site is to promote all local theater, the reposting of their reviews is to help spread the information I do know a re-desgin of the website is in the works and it may address this issue.


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