The theatrical device of mistaken identities conjures images of lost twins, shipwrecks, romances, and happy endings. Fred Carmichael’s comedy Don’t Mention My Name has elements of both romance and mystery, and both elements are based on the hidden identities of the characters in the play, who are never quite who or what they claim to be. The play is set in an unnamed bed-and-breakfast in Vermont, and its humor and suspense arise from the protagonist’s compelling need to remember his real identity.
In the opening scene, the agitated, confused, and bleeding hero stumbles into the Vermont bed-and-breakfast. A nice-seeming young man, he suffers from temporary amnesia, but still at least understands the meaning of the word. With each new arrival, this man is addressed by a new name, further exasperating him in his search for identity. At one point, he gets so frustrated that he exclaims, “I wish someone would call me, ‘Hey, man!'” Matt Cooper portrays the character’s agony with earnestness, while remaining a sweet, trustworthy guy. When the beautiful Jane Ridgley, the local real estate agent, unexpectedly shows up at the door, the amnesiac is vividly stirred by her presence. It’s not long before things go awry and these two are forced to investigate. Julia Nadgy makes her stage debut as Jane, and she is perfectly cast as an agent with more to show than just her good looks. In contrast, Verla (Leslie Ann Story) is a rough, masculine housekeeper-turned-sheriff with an exaggerated gait and twang.
One of the play’s best comedic effects lies in the juxtaposition of unlikely characters. For example, the tall and glamorous Kitty Carson (Deborah Bertling) is put next to the Adonis-like and running shorts-clad Ace St. John (Paul Miles). There is also a dubious liaison between an executive and his secretary, and also the snubbed, hysterical wife of the executive, ably played by Susie Couch. Carol Metcalf, who plays Sylvia, has a definite talent for comedy. Opposite a more dignified Dexter (Gene Garcia), Metcalf’s Sylvia is deliciously annoying. Near the end of the play, she calls Jane “Nancy Drew”-not without reason. If you enjoy mysteries, you’ll be well-entertained, surprised, and delighted. Circle Bar B is at its best in this production-wonderfully at home with comedy and laughter. The lovely set designed by Michael Vogel completes the intimate theater experience in the rustic charm of the ranch.