Review: Kroehler Girls, Stratford, Ont.

by Lynn on September 20, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person under a canopy as part of Here for Now Theatre, New Works Festival until Sept. 26, 2021.

Co-created by Kelly McIntosh, Stacy Smith and Andy Pogson and Severn Thompson

Directed by Severn Thompson

Music by Gaham Hargrove

Cast: Kelly McIntosh


Andy Pogson

Stacy Smith

From the show information:

“It’s the bottom of the inning, a full count with two down. The Kroehler Girls socked two hits and their heavy hitter is a star with the willow, is it enough to bring the title home? 

Furniture and Softball. It’s the early 1950’s and Stratford’s all girls softball team is known for building furniture by day and dominating the ball diamond by night. Can the Kroehler Girls live up to their reputation after a devastating loss the previous season? Times are changing at a breakneck speed in these post-war days and this team, along with their hometown, have to prove they have what it takes. 

A new comedy that celebrates all that is Stratford in the early 50’s: the remarkable furniture company and their legendary softball team.

“We’ll sing you the song of our ball team, it’s the finest team in all the land.
We’ll tell you about all the players and we’ll tell you the truth if we can.”

Honey is an elderly woman with a spotty memory living in a seniors’ home. She’s easily confused but she has a memory from years ago when she played on the Kroehler (pronounced “Kraylor”) Furniture girls softball team. The play then returns to that time….with Honey (Kelly McIntosh) removing her old lady jacket and going back to her younger self.

We see the eagerness of Honey to be scouted to an American soft-ball team. There was an actor named James (Andy Pogson) who was playing up the road for the new Shakespeare Festival, taking place in a tent. He made friends with one of the players of the team. There was the manager of the team. A reporter reporting on it. An eager pitcher (Stacy Smith) and a young girl (MadeNell) who was a kind of mascot.

With only four actors playing many parts there was a lot of putting on and taking off of different hats, or putting them on backward to suggest another character. Without a clear program that listed the actor and all the parts he/she played, it got a bit confusing.

Kroehler Girls is a sweet look back to an innocent time when these folks played soft-ball and there was a hint of that Shakespeare Festival. But theatre by committee, and that’s what it seemed like with all those co-creators, did not result in a strong play. The constant switching from character to character was hard to keep straight, and the momentum to the playoffs seemed rushed without sustained suspense. The inclusion of music and sound effects overloaded the whole thing. Too much.

Produced by Here for Now Theatre, New Works Festival.

Plays until: Sept. 26, 2021.

Running Time: 1 hour.

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