Bobby Corn and the Tiffel-Meyer Ranch Round-Up | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Bobby Corn and the Tiffel-Meyer Ranch Round-Up

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Bobby Corn and the Tiffel-Meyer Ranch Round-Up, Corn Productions. The third installment in a series of musical mystery adventures featuring the whiny Bobby and his bossy sister, Rachel, uses broad comic antics, exuberant song and dance numbers (choreographed by Ashley Simone and Michelle Renee Thompson), and the amateur sleuthing of bickering siblings to amuse young audiences. Here the Corn family has been invited to a dude ranch, but the kids' summer plans are disrupted when a prize stallion suddenly disappears. Rachel and Bobby enlist their friend Dale (visiting from last season's Bobby Corn and the House on Weedy Lake) in a search for the horse, steering clear of suspicious farmhand McGyver Brooks and getting in the way of the suave Beau Steele, who's intent on seducing their mom.

Writer-director Becky Werve aims for silliness in this quick-paced show. Christopher R. Jacobs is hilarious as the timidly goofy Bobby, but Kelvin Davis's Uncle Rex is the only character who seems natural: Werve directs with melodramatic overstatement, and as usual many cast members try too hard to convey the script's comedy or suspense. The mystery is handled more perfunctorily than in previous shows, and Werve needs to give her audience more credit: kids will understand characters with more than one personality trait, and audience members young and old will appreciate plot points that aren't oversimplified.

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