Miracles do happen. It was so life-affirming to see “Death by Golf” at The Barn III its opening weekend. After being forced to shut its doors due to storm damage in 2015, the Barn III has risen from the ashes and is back “with bells on.”
The gorgeous, brand-spanking new structure is “four hundred times better” than the old one, according to Mary Simon, having lost not one iota of its previous warmth and country charm. The Barn III now serves alcoholic beverages, accommodates folks with special dietary needs at the buffet, and boasts an elevator. All this, and the fact that The Barn III is a now a wedding and events venue, as well as a dinner theater, is due to the vision and financial backing of The Barn III’s new owner, Abby Reel.
Not only did it feel like going home to be showered with the Barn’s signature brand of hospitality, but to witness what happened on stage was also comforting, familiar, and hilarious.
“Death by Golf” centers around the plight of young newlywed Ashley, who wonders if she married too quickly without getting to know her new husband well enough. She goes to share her concern with her beloved golf-loving grandpa in his Florida bungalow, only to discover that a strange man is hiding in her grandpa’s closet. As there is a murderer on the loose, this makes everyone on edge. Throw in a lawyer trying to track down a birth certificate with an enormous inheritance at stake, and you have pure “door slamming” fun on stage.
The four actors, Bob Lane Jr. as Grandpa, Mary Simon as Muriel, April Bieschke as Ashley (who also designed and built the vibrant set), and Christian Meredith as Tony, are all actors at the top of their game, full of energy, with perfect comic timing and the ability to connect with their audience, who clearly adore them.
It’s difficult to imaging this theater having a stronger comeback. The full parking lot, smiling faces, and the prevailing sense of optimism defined this triumphant return of an old friend.