Don Hazen, Robert Grueskin, and Jackie Patterson in The Robin Hood CaperThe opening scene in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's The Robin Hood Caper is one you've likely sat through, in different iterations, in numerous stage comedies over the years. It introduces us to the young, flummoxed journalist Richard Collins, who, as his conversation reveals, is dealing with all manner of personal crises: shaky finances; an underhanded mayor with plans to shutter Richard's newspaper; a fiancée demanding a wedding date. Richard's Aunt Flora, meanwhile, takes this all in with a sympathetic ear and an occasional, dotty reminiscence of her own, and routinely shifts her focus back to her needlepoint.

Tyler Henning and Ashley Hoskins in Barely HeirsThe Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Barely Heirs is a bit of an enigma, because even though it's problematic in plot and presentation, this farce delivers some big laughs. Despite taking issue with several elements of Friday's performance, I must also admit that I, along with the rest of the audience, not only laughed but guffawed, repeatedly, throughout the comedy. This play is deeply flawed, but also exceedingly funny.

Nathan Johnson, Cindy Ramos, Terri Nelson, and Jack Sellers in 100 Lunches: A Gourmet ComedyI wouldn't necessarily associate the titular "gourmet," which implies "high-quality" or "fancy," with the script for the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's 100 Lunches: A Gourmet Comedy. But the production is entertaining beyond its thin plot, the two-dimensional characters and situations are at least interesting enough to warrant continued attention, and although this is yet another play that could end at intermission and still leave audiences satisfied, the second act - despite boasting a wholly dissimilar tone - proves just as appealing as the first.

Bill Peiffer, Liz Paxton, Nick Waldbusser, and Carli Talbott in The Christmas ExpressThe last time I watched Nancy Teerlinck perform, earlier this year, she offered a moving portrayal of a matriarch making tough, emotional decisions in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Moving. Yet as much as I liked her in that role, I think she's even better when she's playing ... well, a bitch ... such as the one she portrays in Playcrafters' current offering, The Christmas Express. Teerlinck's Hilda, who runs the play's Holly Railway Station, is an acerbic, crotchety, sarcastic, bitchy delight, and I think I now love the performer, and want to see this side of her comicality a lot more often.

Mollie Schmelzer, Jackie Patterson, Renaud Haymon, Taylor McKean, and Jordan L. Smith in The Curious SavageThe Curious Savage is the best production I've seen at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre so far this season. With its sharply funny script, interesting and endearing characters, and director Don Hazen's gentle touch rendering the piece heartfelt and sincere, I was captivated from beginning to end during Thursday's performance, curious as to how the story would unfold, and caring what would happen to the show's cast of sanatorium residents.

Kevin Maynard, Nicholas Waldbusser, Rosemary Ocar, Mollie A. Schmelzer, and Don Hazen in Don't Talk to the ActorsWhat strikes me most about the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's production of Don't Talk to the Actors is the tone created by director Susan Simosky. While playwright Tom Dudzick's script calls for a couple of roles to perhaps be played bigger than they are, Simosky maintains a simple feel that's more natural than feigned. Watching Thursday's performance, it seemed as if I was looking in on real-life scenes rather than designed ones. There's a gentle, unforced flow to the effort that seems effortless.

Jim Driscoll, Stephanie Moeller, John Weigandt (foreground), Alec Peterson, and Travis Hedman (background) in Treasure IslandThe Playcrafters Barn Theatre's take on the classic Robert Louis Stevenson adventure novel Treasure Island - adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig - certainly kicks off with a dynamic start. Director, lighting director, and set designer Jennifer Kingry's impressive recreation of a lightning storm is ominous and tense, as is the first scene aboard a pirate ship, and if the play's pirates portray any sense of threat, it is in these opening minutes, as they snarl at and descend upon a perceived traitor and treasure-map thief. The storm ends, however, as does the scene, and the rest of the play lacks the excitement set up at the start.

Kevin Brake, Don Hazen, Mike Kelly, Paul Workman, and Vicki Deusinger in See How They RunSee How They Run, currently being staged at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, is described on the venue's Web site as "a classic farce of mistaken identity and slamming doors." But in actuality, only two parts of that three-part statement turn out to be accurate.

Alex Klimkewicz, David Rash, and Bill Hudson in Laughing StockAs with a person, sometimes you can fall immediately, madly, irrationally in love with a play. And I think I fell in love with author Charles Morey's Laughing Stock within its first two minutes, when artistic director Gordon Page (Don Hazen) introduced visiting actor Jack Morris (Alex Klimkewicz) to his venerated theatre in New Hampshire, and the young man took a moment to assess his surroundings before saying, incredulously, "It's a barn."

the Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas ensemble At last Monday's well-attended preview performance of the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's Uh-Oh, Here Comes Christmas, most of the mostly senior audience seemed delighted by the show.

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