'KISS AND TELL'; Hale Center Theater Orem, 225 W. 400 North; directed by Kymberly Luke Mellen; featuring Brighton Quinn Hertford; through Feb. 8; running time, 3 hours with two intermissions.
OREM — Brighton Quinn Hertford makes the show as the rambunctious Corliss Archer in Hale Center Theater's "Kiss And Tell."
She's completely at ease on the stage, feels free to play with her lines and dramatic movements, and entertains throughout without any of it feeling forced.
She is enthusiastic, usually mad at Dexter, wild about her soldier boyfriend, incorrigible, and actually pretty brazen for a 15-year-old trying to grow up too quickly in the 1940s.
And she's unapologetic throughout as she watches the repercussions that come from her kissing booth, where she sells kisses for $1 and a second for 50 cents.
The whole show is actually a house of cards pulled down by the frivolity of Archer and her best friend, Mildred Pringle (Allie Rae Saraiva).
The families are horrified and try to keep the girls apart, each thinking the other's child is a poor influence. It creates some serious tension in the neighborhood.
As romance blooms and handsome soldiers come and go, it gets pretty complicated.
But it's clean and nicely done.
Among the other positive notes, the dresses for the women are inventive and perfect for the period. The comings and goings of the maid add comic effect. The set is simple, an outdoor patio area closed in without enough room for a good ping-pong game.
And there's a great dog in the cast.
Most of the cast warm nicely to their task, with Raymond (played by Mitch Bandley) especially hitting his stride about halfway through and making his character as the somewhat nosy, intrusive neighbor boy a favorite.
The parents, understandably distraught by some distressing developments in the second half, play their parts pretty well, even if it's unlikely they would react as calmly as they do to a teenage pregnancy.
Mark Pulham and Shelly Stewart Truax are Harry and Janet Archer. Cathleen Metten is Dorothy Pringle. Luone Ingram and Brandon Dupuis (Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday cast) are Mary and Bill Franklin.
Ammon Loveless plays the hapless, jealous, lovesick Dexter Franklin, used and abused by Corliss Archer depending on whether she needs his help or not.
Jack Stokes plays Uncle George, who comes to town just at the wrong time, making all kinds of inappropriate comments because he has no idea what's going on.
This is a story about family and love and growing up and promises. It's also less frivolous than it first appears.
There are some life lessons to be learned here, some forgiveness to witness, some choices to think through.
And the cast members proved they could adapt when the power went out midstream, and again when it was time to ring in the new year. They ad-libbed well and picked up the momentum almost seamlessly.
Here's a show that's pleasant to watch, good for laughs and enjoyable because — spoiler alert — it all works out in the end.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with more than 35 years' experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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