‘Baggage’ is a madhouse

Island Players Baggage
The cast of “Baggage,” back row, Jennifer Caldwell as Mitzy and Rick Kopp as Jonathan, and in front, Jalex Scott as Bradley and Jennifer Kwiatkowski as Phyllis. – Tom Vaught | Sun

ANNA MARIA – Over the past 70 years, the Island Players have produced some unusual plays, and “Baggage” by Sam Bobrick is among the most unusual.

Two bags switched at an airport, the “baggage,” were onstage for a short time, but the characters’ mental baggage was apparent throughout the play. Filled with the angst of broken hearts and the difficulty of rebuilding one’s self, “to love or not love” was the question asked.

The four veteran actors tackled their roles with vigor. From Jalex Scott’s Bradley, who shed tears for his lost love, to Jennifer Kwiatkowski’s solo argument as Phyllis over what she should do about her relationship, the acting was excellent. There was an abundance of humor that had the sellout audience belly laughing as they watched the cast tackle the complexities of modern love and romance.

The two other performers, Rick Kopp and Jennifer Caldwell, were great. Caldwell played Mitzy, a character who attacks love relations with the all tenderness of defensive tackle. Kopp played Jonathan, a relationship counselor with “a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree and a PhD, et cetera, et cetera.”

Director James Thaggard had his actors at their best and most engaging in their performances. The invisible wall between the cast on stage and the audience in the seats was breached late in the show when they referred to the performance as a play and engaged the audience, proving that anything goes in “Baggage.”

“Baggage” is a scream at times, a madhouse of laughs and well worth the cost of a ticket. For ticket information, call 941-778-5755.