Al Whitmore, Dave Rash, and Dawn Rena Lang in Catch Me If You Can "Life's full of surprises."

These were among the first words spoken from stage during the opening-night presentation at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. Yet while this sentiment would've sounded perfectly appropriate coming from one of the characters in the comedic mystery Catch Me If You Can, it was actually a statement by the show's director, Kevin DeDecker, who preceded the performance with an announcement: Actor Mike Skiles had fallen ill, and his role as Inspector Levine would be assumed, that evening, by the production's stage manager, Drew Carter - a young man who would be carrying his script in hand, and would also be making his (accidental) stage debut.

Susan Philhower, Renaud Haymon, and Jan Golz Truth be told, I'm rather envious of the audiences who'll be seeing Light Up the Sky during its second weekend at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, because while I had a mostly terrific time at Friday night's production, I'm guessing that subsequent crowds will have an even better one.

Dave Rash, Jim Driscoll, & Molly McLaughlin in Actors frequently speak of performers who "raise the bar," whose personal performance standards are so high that they challenge - and inspire - their co-stars to match them. In Death Takes a Holiday, the comedy/drama/supernatural romance currently playing at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, James Driscoll raises the bar so high it's practically celestial.

Moss Hart & George S. Kaufman's 1938 comedy You Can't Take It with You is so sturdy and reliably entertaining that it doesn't take much more than a mediocre version of it to make audiences happy. The current production at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre is significantly better than mediocre - vibrantly played and almost consistently pleasurable - but what's completely surprising is the cleverness and skill behind Vicki Deusinger's staging of it.

Richmond Hill Barn Theatre in Geneseo is like something from an actor's dream. With "theatre-in-the-round" seating, high ceilings for easy lighting capability, entryways from four sides, and an intimate acting space, one would think any play could succeed with these standards. Even a weak performance can be positively impacted by quality set pieces and a connection with audience members.

It's impossible to guess the content of Roger Karshner's The Man with the Plastic Sandwich by its title. Is the setting a cooking show? Is the "man" a toy-maker creating plastic food for those miniature ovens lining the aisles of local toy stores? One certainly won't expect the play to be about a man suffering through a midlife crisis brought on by being fired from his job after 20 years of loyal service.