Iowa City Press-Citizen
March 27, 2015, p. A7
Combined Efforts Theatre.)
Combined Efforts Theatre, an Iowa City gem, is Iowa’s only theater group that deliberately includes young and old performers and volunteers with and without disabilities. The plays are quality, original works by the group’s founder, award-winning playwright Janet Schlapkohl.
This one is about old friends meeting after years apart, secrets, new loves, memories both pleasant and painful, and the magic of delightful forest creatures — plus former burlesque performers, two out-of-work musicians and a mysterious child. The acting, directing by Elijah Jones, dancing gaggle of Nisse (look it up), and the Jazz Rascals make it a delightful evening for all.
But I am a New Orleans Dixieland jazz fan, with a reputation as a totally incompetent trombone beginner and a fading dream. So I have to admit that the highlight for me was listening to the almost-continuous “Riverbank Jazz Band” performance — a local group that had never played together before and assembled just for this show. (Audience dancing is not only permitted, it is encouraged — though not required.) They are as good as anything I ever heard in New Orleans over a half-century ago. Their names may be familiar to you: Ira and Katie Greenstein, Chris Clark, Jim Hall, Steve Norris and Tim Schulte
They alone are worth far more than the incredibly reasonable ticket price.