Performance Review: Caught in the Act


The Holyoke High School Theater Company from the Performing and Media Arts Academy started off their theater productions strong with their high energy, fast-paced show, Caught in the Act.

After attending the second performance of the show on Saturday night, one can strongly say that Caught in the Act lived up to the hype. With a promise of comedy and a murder mystery, it was delightful to see the audience laughing for a large portion of the show. My personal favorite gag was the physical comedy piece with the movers, which was timed perfectly and really showed the actor’s dedication and skills learned in their practice.

The actors were clearly very dedicated to the show. Each one brought their A-game and the small cast let each of them have their moment to shine. It was clear that each actor had spent a significant amount of time making sure each witty one liner was sharp as a whip, and that their characters were both unique and well established on stage. Their ability to gel with one another as well as they did for the show was an amazing feat; I applaud them for that.

Two standouts in the cast of characters were the characters of Lucy and Ace, played my Mae Cahill and Manuel Westry. Mae did an excellent job with projecting and handling the absurdity in both her character and the more technical aspects of theater. The bit at the end where Lucy thinks she had been shot because of the sound of the slamming door was made hilarious by Mae’s skill. Manuel was able to completely sell the character of Ace because his comedic timing was spot-on for the entire show. Even his movements and posture showed how connected he was to the character, and his line delivery made Ace an interesting inversion of the “jock” stereotype you find in theater circles. However, each actor had their moments of brilliance. I loved the exasperation that came across so clearly on the character of the director, Shayleena Collins-Figueroa, and the absurdity in Chuck’s character, Michael Ortiz, with the pants scene.

The sets worked well in their favor and they really sold a lot of the comedy in the show. Most of the physical gags came from the running through doors, though I do wish they did a bit more than just a Scooby Doo-esque chase scene with them. With that being said, the surprise cameo of Dr. Mahoney himself was delightful and really made the audience giggle. Dr. Zrike made the surprise cameo in the performance on opening night.

Caught in the Act’s two show run at Holyoke High promises many grander and fun projects from the PMA Academy and Holyoke High School Theater Company in the future, and it’s something to definitely keep an eye out for in the future.