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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

‘Oh Dad, Poor Dad’ mixes sad with effortless performances

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Carleton’s Experimental Theater Board (ETB) knocked it out of the park on Thursday with the opening performance of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You In The Closet And I’m Feelin’ So Sad by Arthur Kopit. Liv Phillips ’18 and ETB president Caroline Roberts ’16 directed the show.

Oh Dad, Poor Dad follows the story of wealthy, controlling Madame Rosepettle (Lauren Goboff ’19) and her disturbed son Jonathan (Adam Berkebile ’19) as they attempt to enjoy a tropical vacation. Sounds pretty tame, right? Not one bit.

Absurdly hilarious, heart-wrenching, and terrifying, Oh Dad, Poor Dad generates an outlandish energy from the get-go. Featuring venus flytraps, a piranha with a strict diet of Siamese kittens, a seductive babysitter, and a taxidermy husband, this show does not disappoint.

The leading cast didn’t disappoint either. In my opinion, the best performances of the night were delivered by the two freshmen (freshmen!) leads: Adam Berkebile as Jonathan and Lauren Goboff as Madame Rosepettle.

Berkebile’s performance as Jonathan was captivating. The entire audience seemed to be rooting for Jonathan for the duration of the piece. Delightfully awkward, heartbreakingly forlorn, he had the audience collectively laughing and “awww”-ing throughout the entire show. From his speech to his movement to the pitiful look in his eyes, Berkebile played an utterly convincing Jonathan.

Goboff’s performance as Madame Rosepettle was literally killer. Goboff tackled the daunting role of Madame Rosepettle with all the intensity, complexity, and dynamic it deserves. Goboff made me hate Madame Rosepettle from nearly the minute the house lights went down, and as the show progressed and her performance built, I loathed the character. However, I had to admire Madame Rosepettle’s resolve and her effortless, collected capacity to dominate and manipulate whomever she wishes to. Goboff’s performance nicely emulated the multi-layered, deranged, evil nature of Madame Rosepettle.

Other notable performances included Emma Buechner ’18 as audacious, seductive Rosalie and Jesse Rothbard ’17 as overconfident and eventually horror-stricken Commodore Roseabove. Additionally, John Cronin ’18 was shocking, timely, and disturbingly hilarious in the second act. Trust me, you will hate yourself for laughing.

In addition to the show’s phenomenal cast, Oh Dad, Poor Dad featured a great set, and haunting light and sound effects in the second act.

There were of course a few small opening night blips. I was also left confused at the end of the dinner scene, finding that important information about Commodore Roseabove’s chair was left out. Outside of these minor complaints, I found the show wholly excellent.

There are two performances left of Oh Dad, Poor Dad, on Friday February 26th and Saturday February 27th, both in little Nourse Theater at 7pm. Oh Dad, Poor Dad will have you laughing, crying, screaming, and wanting to throw things, although I’m sure the cast would highly appreciate you refraining from engaging in the latter, at least until the show is over. I highly recommend going to see this eccentric, energetic show.

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