When Last Train to Nibroc opens in 1940, Raleigh and May are a pair of strangers. In other hands, this chance encounter may have led to murder and obsession, but in this case it leads to love.
Raleigh (Will Rucker) sits down next to May (Laura Rikard) in the only seat left on a train from Los Angeles. He’s an aspiring writer on his way to New York, having just been discharged from the army because of his “fits.” She’s a headstrong and religious woman heading home from a breakup with her soldier boyfriend. Turns out they grew up within miles from each other in Kentucky. May thinks Raleigh is insufferable in that way that always turns pretty quickly into a romance, but their ensuing relationship is not that simple. When we meet back up with the pair, it’s two years, and a breakup, later. In Scene 3, another year has passed, and even more drama.
Rucker and Rikard were both energetic and confident in their roles, but unfortunately, the couple lacked any real chemistry, and that effected their comedic timing. Let’s put it this way: The couple shares one big smooch on stage, and it was as stiff as the corpse of May’s ex-boyfriend (spoiler).
Rikard is a solid actress, but her interpretation of the born-again teacher was too high strung. Rucker imparted his character with a subtly suave demeanor, but he was too quiet.
But the oddest choice in the performance was Rikard’s wig. Too straight and shiny and cut in a Vidal Sassoon bob, it didn’t recall the wartime 1940s as much as it did the do of a suburban housewife, and it was a big distraction throughout the show.
Piccolo Spoleto. Stelle Di Domani. Last Train to Nibrock. May 31, June 2 at 3 p.m.; June 1 at 8:30 p.m.; June 3 at 8 p.m. 1 hour, 20 min. $19/adults, $13/students, seniors. Chapel Theatre