By Anne Eickstadt

Peter J. Gulatto as Walter Hollander has the audience roaring in laughter as he pulls off this sight gag while insulting the Sultan of Bashir (Vince Melillo).


The Main Street Players have wrapped up another play, this one a Cold War comedy, Don’t Drink the Water. “An American tourist, a caterer by trade, and his wife and daughter rush into the American Embassy two steps ahead of the police who suspect them of spying and picture taking.

“It’s not much of a refuge, for the ambassador is absent and his son, now in charge, has been expelled from a dozen countries and the continent of Africa. Nevertheless, they carefully and frantically plot their escape, and the ambassador’s son and the caterer’s daughter even have time to fall in love. The action takes place in an American Embassy somewhere behind the Iron Curtain.”

From the moment the tourists race onto the stage, the audience was laughing. The ambassador’s son bungles his initial interview with the Russian police, ‘admitting’ that the innocent tourists are spies and ensuring that the embassy is surrounded by the military. The resident priest (having sought refuge in the embassy six years ago) is learning magic tricks to occupy his time and is eager for a willing, or unwilling, new audience to perform for (“Pick a card”). Unfortunately, he is still not proficient at any of the tricks (“I don’t know how Houdini did this,” as he attempts to escape a straitjacket).

The tourist caterer insults a sultan that the ambassador is trying to get to sign a treaty, he is driving the chef mad with criticism, and his wife has cleaned the embassy three times, done laundry for the entire embassy, and set up her ironing in the ambassador’s office.

The Russian police wander into the embassy periodically demanding that the tourists be turned over for trial and a quick execution while a riot rages outside the gate and the ambassador’s son plans an escape.

“The cast is a vast variety of ages,” said director John B. Van Nest. “They range from 19 to 70ish. With that wide a range, you would think that there would be a disconnect, but they have melded really well as a cohesive group. It is partly due to the script which lends itself to the group dynamics, timing, and comedy, and partly to their dedication. I am really pleased with how it has come together. It has been

For full article, pick up the Feb. 28 Belvidere Daily Republican.

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTOS Belvidere Daily Republican
With a new audience for his magic tricks, “Pick a card,” Father Drobney (Keith Burritt) insists.

Marion Hollander (Jenni Minarik) moves her laundry into the Embassy’s office while Axel (Seth Lambright) attempts to keep everything running.