John VanDeWoestyne and Greg Cripple in The Odd CoupleJohn VanDeWoestyne proves a capable center for the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's The Odd Couple. Portraying playwright Neil Simon's slovenly divorcée Oscar Madison, VanDeWoestyne's comedic timing shines as he adeptly pauses here or rushes there in ways that increase his punchlines' comical impact. The actor never quite overcomes his natural poise and intelligence to fully sell the character, but his Oscar is also a bit funnier for those qualities; it's fun seeing this normally classy man speaking and acting like a disorderly bachelor. While there's plenty that's worthy of praise in director Mike Skiles' well-paced production, it's VanDeWoestyne who deserves extra credit for being the glue that holds it all together.

Calvin Vo and Bryan Woods in The AcharniansThis year's end-of-season Greek comedy by Genesius Guild, The Acharnians, is high on political humor, musical numbers, and sharply funny barbs at the expense of local organizations - especially Genesis Health System and Trinity Regional Health System (now UnityPoint Health) - and the cities of Moline, Davenport, and Rock Island. And I was smiling from ear to ear during almost the entirety of Saturday's performance, tickled by the clever jokes, amusing songs, and even the groan-worthy puns.

David Cabassa and Angela Rathman in The Taming of the ShrewIf, at any point, you find your mind wandering during director Jeff Coussens' Genesius Guild presentation of The Taming of the Shrew - and trust me, that won't happen often - snapping back to attention is easy: Just check out the reactions of the men watching the show from stage right. You'll have no trouble spotting them, because one of the guys is drunk off his ass, and the other's wearing a dress.

(seated) Ava Miller, Sarah Loula, Hannah King, and Michaela Garrison; (standing) Stephanie Moeller, Faith Rebekah, and Adam Overberg in A Midsummer Night's DreamI arrived at Genesius Guild's Friday-night performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream 10 minutes prior to the start of the show. What would otherwise be adequate arrival time for most of the Guild's performances proved a problem for this one - I could not find a seat. Other than a few spots on the not-comfortable-enough-for-more-than-two-hours bleachers, the seats were filled. With patrons already staking out spots on the surrounding lawn, I was forced to return to my car, grab a lawn chair, and jockey for a position to best view the night's performance.

Ann Miller, Tim Miller, and the Thesmophoriazusae chorusFollowing Saturday's presentation of Thesmophoriazusae - this summer's annual Genesius Guild send-up of an ancient-Greek comedy - I had the chance to say hi to its adaptor/director, Don Wooten. I congratulated the Guild founder on the sensationally silly 75 minutes that he and his cast had just delivered, and during our conversation, another patron came up to Wooten and told him that this Aristophanes goof was the most enjoyable season-ender she'd seen in decades.

Well, damn ... that trumps my praise.