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Humor highlights Holmstad variety show
By Sammi King | Daily Herald Columnist

Shirley Searles crashes her cymbals (a.k.a. pot covers) while performing with fellow members of the Original Holmstad Kitchen Band during the "Mellow Moments" production put on by the "Just For Fun" Theater group on May 4.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

Don Hallberg enjoys a comedy sketch titled, "Oh Doctor" during the "Mellow Moments" production by the Holmstad's "Just For Fun" Theater in Batavia on May 4.


Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/12/2010 12:01 AM

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The one-liners came at the audience faster than a fastball, high and inside, loaded with spit and spin.

I knew immediately that the Holmstad's "Just For Fun" theater would live up to its name.

The brainchild of Director Jo Ann Lewis, the production of "Mellow Moments" may have featured actors in the "mellow" years of life, but the show was far from mellow.

"I wanted to have fun with it," said Lewis. "I wanted to show that people who live in retirement centers don't just sit around all day and do nothing."

I must confess that I did get a complimentary ticket to the event, but before you conclude that I might be biased or guilty of payola, I did offer to pay the 25-cent admission.

"We'll let you in for free," she said. "As long as you aren't too critical."

Who can be critical of a show that starts with jokes and ends with jokes and keeps you laughing all the way through?

Don Hallberg and Bruce Larson, the Talking Hats, opened with a string of lively jokes.

"I enjoyed their banter between the acts." said resident Ann Miller. "Only one joke was over my head, but with all my white hair my brain isn't as quick as it used to be."

The first act was a kitchen band featuring Town Center residents.

Dr. Wes Ryd had the opportunity to kick back and enjoy the show, seeing some of his friends attempt the symphonic pounding.

"Carl Pierson who played pots, pans and the kettle drum for the kitchen band told me that he was chosen to play the kettles because he was often accused of making a lot of noise," said Ryd. "He also admitted that his only musical experience was playing the shoe horn and even then he was only allowed to play the footnotes."

The show continued with the "Waltzing Walkers." As the performers came down the aisles with their walkers, they performed brilliantly and then put their walkers aside to take on the Jitterbug.

"Why aren't you on 'Dancing With the Stars?'" Shirley Searle asked waltzers Joyce Carlson and Janice Swanson.

"I wouldn't want to wear the skimpy costumes," quipped Carlson.

The Three Amigos went musical when the "Four Altos" took the stage. Dressed in Western wear, four ladies sang for the enjoyment of the audience.

"We really had a lot of fun getting together and doing it," said alto, Marilyn Lammers.

Dr. Ryd might have been squirming in his seat a bit when he saw Ralph Youngman take the stage for the "Oh Doctor" skit.

Youngman, a retired pastor, took on the task of seeing a myriad of patients with a variety of ailments.

Poor Carol Teague came to Youngman's office because she couldn't sleep.

"I haven't slept in days," she said.

"Try sleeping nights," prescribed Youngman.

Later he would advocate wine as a prescription which resulted in a fall from bed.

"Doctor, doctor, I fell out of bed and now I have a bump the size of a head." said Teague.

"What's the problem?" said Youngman. "You know what they say, 'Two heads are better than one.'"

The actors didn't need an applause meter to know how great the show was. Just hearing the room fill with laughter and seeing the smiles on the faces of those in the audience was proof that the show was a hit.

Master of Ceremonies Bruce Larson summed it up best when he said, "We had fun doing it. We were blessed by giving folks some laughter. It was well worth the effort."