Whoever said "almost isn't good enough" hasn't seen "Almost, Maine."
The play, now on stage at Beowulf Alley Theatre, is thin, predictable and corny. And as sweet as can be.
Part of that is due to a cast that plays their multiple parts with honesty and humor.
Director Maria Caprile kept the piece - nine loosely connected vignettes about the people in the fictional town of Almost, Maine - moving at a fast pace and with a clear eye toward telling a series of stories.
All the short scenes have love at the center - lost love, new love, angry love. A bit of fantasy and lots of laughs are thrown in.
In Almost, the local pub gives free beer to anyone who is sad, the Northern Lights cheer up the night sky, and broken hearts are carried around in a paper bag.
One vignette has a couple hit by the thunderbolt of love and it knocks them down again and again. Maybe it worked because of the pratfalls Seth Fowler and Patrick Baum took over and over. Or perhaps it was the ridiculous red and black checked jacket with matching hat that Fowler wore. Whatever the reason, the two committed completely to the vignette, so it was easy to buy into and quite funny.
In another, Jacob Brown plays a goofy guy on a park bench next to a beautiful young woman (Lily Delamere). She haltingly tells him she loves him, but he hasn't a clue. His response is to explain how the Earth moves.
This cast of eight - rounded out by Leslie Miller, Jared Stokes, China Young and Candace Bean - played 19 characters and each was given a distinctive life. Clearly, the cast bought into the people and their tales. There was a real sense they liked the folks in Almost. Consequently we do, too.
• What: Beowulf Alley Theatre Company's production of "Almost, Maine."
• By: John Cariani.
• Director: Maria Caprile.
• When: 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 2:30 p.m. Sundays through April 14.
• Where: 11 S. Sixth Ave.
• Tickets: $20 regular admission; $18 for seniors, educators and military; $8 for students.
• Reservations/info: www.beowulfalley.org or 882-0555.
• Running time: About two hours with one intermission.