If I had to see a show twice, I think it would be ‘Guys on Ice’

Hear what folks in the audience had to say about “Guys on Ice” after the show.

Director Tobin Hissong’s take on American Folklore Theatre’s “Guys on Ice” is a success, if you measure success by how funny, charming and Wisconsin a thing is.

‘Guys’ is a story of two men who hide out from their problems in an ice fishing shanty set atop the frozen waters of Sturgeon Bay, above what lads Lloyd and Marvin hope will be a fat scaly bounty of many walleye and northern pike hoisted up by their lines one-by-one into their waiting coolers.

Hissong sets out to portray these two men, and their often unwanted visitor Ernie “the Moocher” (Keith Kalinowski), as average fellas you might work shoulder-to-shoulder with on the job, or drink elbow-to-elbow with at the bar. He succeeds, as Lloyd (Peter John Riopelle) and Marvin (Timothy Brayman) come off as approachable down-to-Earth guys who just want to enjoy the finer things in life like Leinie’s (Leinenkugel), snow suits and of course ice fishing.

Buried underneath the affable goofiness and hilarious musical numbers such as my favorites “Ode To A Snowmobile Suit” and “What’s Mine is Yours,” is a touching story of men who are deeply dissatisfied with certain aspects of their lives. In Lloyd’s case there’s a pretty severe case of trouble on the home-front with his wife thanks to his strong convictions about the Green Bay Packers (the fourth finer thing in life).

Things never get too serious or emotional enough to get in the way of “Guys” primary objective which is to be completely silly and make you laugh at the antics of these oddballs as they wait in their shanty for a local television journalist to arrive to do an ice fishing feature centered on our boys.

Jim Conklin and Ethan Koernke’s set is simple and straightforward while somehow conveying a cold atmosphere through use of color and how the lighting plays off of it.

“Guys” will make you laugh and make you care about what happens to its trio of lug-heads by the time the fishing trip’s over, the shanty goes dark and the metaphorical curtain falls.

For more information on Director Tobin Hissong check out this video and article about his thoughts on the show.

Sean Dalton has reviewed plays at the Purple Rose, Encore Musical Theatre, Performance Network and elsewhere for the past eight years now. To contact him send an email to seandalton@welovedexter.com.

See what other entertainment writers had to say about the show:

‘Tis the season for ice fishing in the Midwest – and Dexter’s Encore Theatre is now presenting what is probably the only musical that celebrates that tradition, “Guys on Ice.”

‘Guys on Ice’ slips into Dexter’s Encore Theatre – Jenn McKee

Do not confuse “Guys on Ice” with “Disney on Ice.” In the first place, “Guys” is a musical about male bonding that opened in time for frigid February at The Encore Musical Theatre in Dexter. Secondly, the only male bonding around “Disney on Ice” went into assembling Olaf, the singing snowman from “Frozen.”

Nice ‘Ice,’ baby! – John Quinn

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