Wacky adventure ensues when ‘Mama Won’t Fly’


Savannah Sprunt Fairchild Honeycutt has to get her mother from Alabama to Santa Monica, Calif. for her brother’s wedding. But there’s one problem — Mama won’t fly.

The Arvada Festival Playhouse, 5665 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., is showing the Colorado premiere of the Jones Hope Wooten Comedy “Mama Won’t Fly” weekends, Aug. 2 - 11.

When Savannah’s mother, Norleen Sprunt, tells her that she refuses to fly and wants to take her vintage Oldsmobile sedan across country, Savannah begrudgingly agrees to drive with her, but only if she stops meddling.

“Mama meddles in her children’s lives,” said Donna Ault, who portrays Norleen in the play. “She’s a meddler and her daughter keeps accusing her of meddling because I keep trying to find her a husband and find her happiness. She’s just a meddler.”

The road trip gets more interesting when Norleen’s son, Walker, sends them a surprise before they disembark — his fiancee Hayley.

“She’s a little wild,” said Catherine Erhardt, who portrays Hayley Quinn. “She’s getting married and she’s super excited so she goes to Birmingham to drive with her future mother-in-law and sister-in-law to California.”

As the three women travel cross-country, they get to know each other and experience some crazy characters along the way.

“Overall, it’s really funny,” Erhardt said. “It reminds me of National Lampoon’s Vacation. It’s a cross-country road trip and crazy stuff happens.”

The first stop on the trip is to a bra museum, where the three meet the first of the insane characters — Essie, the bra museum curator, who has a passion for undergarments.

The next stop — a 35th anniversary party with the Grubb family for cousin Chicken and his deceased wife, Marjalene, whose ashes he carries around in a mayonnaise jar.

After accident-prone Hayley accidentally contributes to the death of Great-Aunt Pawnee by giving her pimento cheese, the women continue on their way.

“There aren’t really any dead spots in the play,” said Karen Johnston, who plays several of the wacky characters, including Essie the bra museum curator and Great-Aunt Pawnee. “They just hit the road and run into all these weird people.”

The trio finds themselves racing across the desert in a hijacked 18-wheeler and a detour that to Las Vegas that ends with a brawl with an ordained showgirl minister.

“I think it really builds to that scene,” said Charley Ault, who plays several characters, including Chicken. “That is really the highlight and when the fur flies.”

When the wedding is in danger of being cancelled after the adventures, Norleen and Savannah work together to make the nuptials happen and welcome Hayley into their unique family.

“It’s a fun show that you don’t really have to think about,” said Donna. “You can just sit there and laugh at everybody.”

There is a lesson to be learned from the wacky adventures, though, and Mama shares the moral of the story.

“I think Mama kind of sums it up when Savannah is saying Mama won’t fly, and I say `Yeah, but when you have family that you love, you’ll do almost anything,’” Donna said. “It’s just crazy.”

“Mama Won’t Fly” is showing at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 2 and 9, and Saturday, Aug. 3, and 10 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4 and 11, at the Arvada Festival Playhouse.

Tickets are $17 for evening shows and $15 for matinee shows and are available online at www.FestivalPlayhouse.com or at the playhouse the day of the show.


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