Tour 'Gilligan's Island: the Musical, take intellectual vacation

By Penny Rathbun
Staff writer

Do not let reality intrude on your enjoyment of Rover Dramawerks latest production, "Gilligan's Island: the Musical." It would only make things difficult. Also, do not search for the deep drama or layers of meaning that Rover Dramawerks has become known for. There are none.

The group has taken a break from all that, and this time out it should be re-christened Rover Comedywerks.

Step on board the S.S. Minnow and take a tour to laugh-again island. Coby Cathey plays the title character. Away from the island he is a high school science teacher, the same way the Professor earned a living before being stranded on the island. Right there might be a Rover layer of meaning, but oh well - reality intrudes, sort of.Cathey mugs, clowns, and slapsticks his way through the show with a childlike abandonment of self-consciousness. He also makes the child-man Gilligan fun to watch. If his students are not getting extra credit to come see their science teacher play the fool, they should come see the show anyway. They will get an excellent introduction to comedy performance for the theatre.

Michael McNeil as the Skipper is another hoot. He and Cathey perform a bunch of the show's funny stuff. All the stage business with hammocks verges on comedy ballet, but only verges. Mostly what they do is just silly slapstick.

Donald C. Cook and Nancy Lamb as Thurston Howell, III and Lovey Howell are a tribute to what the rich senior set wears when marooned on an island. They also dance and sing with panache.

Mary Ann is the wholesome farm girl from Kansas who inspires some very unwholesome thoughts in audience members, but not in any of the male characters in the cast. But if she did that would make things extremely difficult on the island...oh dear, reality again. Heather McCormick plays Mary Ann with just the right combination of health and sexiness.

The movie star Ginger Grant does inspire some lustful thoughts in the male castaways, but she has to work at it. Heather Hill as Ginger does some very interesting things with a kiss and a feather boa.

Corey Whaley as the Professor can build anything, but a raft it seems. His patter song about education is a highlight of the tour. Watch for that.

Zachary Haber plays a headhunter and an alien, or maybe a schizophrenic alien. It was hard to tell. He adds to the comedy value of the show.

Everyone in the cast sings well, although in the first act it seemed like the band overpowered them. The band is very much a character in the show, adding musical punctuation to much of the action.

Suspend your disbelief in the closet at home, give your cerebrum the night off, and come see "Gilligan's Island: the Musical." The show is playing at the Cox Building Playhouse in Plano through June 28.