Blue

Presented by The Lenoir-Rhyne University Playmakers & The Little ReadBlue

Based on the novel by Joyce Moyer Hostetter

My rating: 4.5 of 5

WWII is raging, and Ann Fay Honeycutt’s father is going off to fight. Before he goes, he leaves her a pair of blue overalls (the same color he claims the wisteria is, despite her protestations that it’s purple!). He tells Ann Fay that while he’s gone, she’s going to have to be the man of the house and look after her mother, two little sisters, and little Bobby the baby. And of course, Ann Fay assures him that she’s up for the task–and pushes herself to fulfill her commitment, accepting no help from anyone, not even her neighbor Junior Bledsoe (who is pretty obviously sweet on her). Little did her father know when he left her in charge that folks in their small North Carolinian town were going to be facing a war of sorts of their own: an outbreak of polio that wrecked havoc on the community and even on the Honeycutt family itself. Brave and strong as she is, Ann Fay’s going to have a challenge for sure keeping her family safe and together in the face of this disease.

I had the immense pleasure of seeing this stage adaptation of Joyce Moyer Hostetter’s book Blue a few weeks ago at a local college. (Yes, I know, I’m very belated in this review. Sorry.) It was a lot of fun. They did a good job of adapting the story for a small stage–the total cast was only 8 individuals, with several playing multiple parts. I particularly enjoyed their use of live stage music, old-timey local radio, walking “car rides”, and a dream fight with a wisteria plant–all of which added a lot of character to the show and also provided nearly Shakespearean-comedy worthy humor, which was nice in a story that is at times extremely sad. The balance was good. I also really enjoyed that they chose to use a children’s book for their basis . . . usually at colleges, the plays are all overly stuffy and serious, which is fine. But it’s nice to have a more innocent and sweet story once in a while. Especially when it’s full of local history and tells a sweet, moving story. And has a strong female lead. What more can you ask for? I enjoyed the play greatly, and seeing it has made me interested in reading the original novel Blue as well.

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