Cemetery Golf, written by Jim Loucks and "based loosely on his childhood experiences in small-town Georgia as a preacher's kid" is an expertly acted 75 minutes of engaging characters- all that's missing is something dramatic to happen. By the time Loucks brings us to the show's conclusion, the denouement feels bittersweet, inevitable, and a tad disappointing, a sensation which may not have felt so acute if the play were shorter. Loucks' characters- himself as a young boy, his sister, mother, father and some others from his father's congregation are vividly brought to life, aided in no small part by his impressive physical ability to fully inhabit these people at the flip of an internal switch- his mother is an especially wonderful interpretation. The dialogues are also rendered in believable prose, delivered with conviction and even when they're not wholly likable, it's hard not to like what he's doing with them. But without a real plot pulling us along, the solo show feels like a tribute to people we don't learn enough about even at this length, and a portrait of a life which most of us (at least those of us not born in the South to a preacher and his wife) haven't lived and wouldn't necessarily want to, though it may resonate more with audiences whose roots are closer to Loucks' own.
At the San Francisco Fringe Festival September 12, 13, 14.