Let’s all scream for this treat

ACCC Summer Theater in the Park
7:30 tonight and Saturday
Riverside Park
Free admission — bring lawnchairs


By RICHARD LUKEN
Register Reporter

Register/Richard Luken
Cody Cokely, left, is I.C. Custard and Rochelle McGhee is his klutzy sidekick Parfait DeLuxe in the Allen County Community College summer program “The Great Ice Cream Scheme ... Or Robin Baskins to the Rescue,” which runs tonight and Saturday night at Riverside Park. Admission is free.

It’s fitting that this week’s all-too-typical steamy Kan-sas weather brings about in many a hunger for something cold and delectable, like ice cream. The adage goes “I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream.”
As a group of young actors has proven, a melodrama about ice cream is quite a satisfying treat in itself.
The troupe will perform Allen County Community College’s summer theater program “The Great Ice Cream Scheme ... or Robin Baskins to the Rescue!” tonight and Saturday at Riverside Park.
Much like past ACCC summer melodramas, “The Great Ice Cream Scheme” comes complete with fiendishly funny villains and earnest and brave heroes.
But unlike previous editions and their turn-of-the-century settings, this year’s presentation takes place in a modern day ice cream parlor.
In this case, the villainous duo of I.C. Custard and Parfait DeLuxe, known to locals as Cody Cokely and Rochelle McGhee, are set on learning the secret ingredient to Pop Sicle’s famous ice cream, regarded by many as the best in town.
Custard’s reasoning? Learning the secret ingredient will allow him to open his own chain of ice cream parlors across the country.
But, as Cokely coolly explains to the audience, any good villain needs an equally devious sidekick.
Enter Ms. DeLuxe, fresh from the “evil villainous” union, ready for her first real job, but a bit on the clumsy side.
The dastardly duo devise a rather simple plot. Parfait will use her girlish charm to finagle Pop Sicle’s secret recipe from Sicle’s adopted son, Robin Baskins — the aforementioned hero.
But as fate would have it, young Baskins (Jordan Strickler) has already found himself smitten with a new waitress at the ice cream parlor, the lovely Marsha Mallow (Madison Ford).
Will Parfait’s attempts to seduce Robin Baskins succeed? Will I.C. Custard get away with Pop Sicle’s secrete? And can Ms. Mallow’s ever learn the proper portion size of an ice cream sundae?
That’s for the audience to learn, tonight and Saturday at 7:30 at the stage at the park. Admission is free, and audience members are advised to bring lawn chairs. As an added bonus, members of the Community Involvement Task Force will serve ice cream starting at 6:45 both nights for free-will donations.

MEMORABLE performances up and down the playbill highlight “The Great Ice Scream Scheme,” beginning with the outlandishly farcical Cokely and McGhee as the bad guys.
Cokely, with all of his fiendish aspirations, is kind enough to explain the occasional scene for the spectators, foretell what plotlines lie ahead and even help move scenery as needed. His interaction with audience members is first-rate.
He’s of course a bit cynical about life in general and none too patient with his dim-witted sidekick.
McGhee is nothing short of a riot, like a high-heeled bull in a china shop. Her facial expressions are priceless, as are her all-too-frequent missteps.
Strickler and Ford shine as the plays heroic leaders, obviously smitten with each other and perhaps (we hope) clever enough to sniff out Custard’s devious plot.
White Olson is a hoot as Pop Sicle, although he has a bit of a bad habit about locking himself in his ice cream freezer, while Reagan Webster sparkles as Sicle’s kind-hearted sister, Nana Peel.
Maggie Terhune and Drew Smith are Candy Sprinkles and Walt Nuts, respectively, fellow servers at the parlor who, too, have eyes only for each other. They’re not afraid of a little naughty business, either.
Rounding out the cast are the arresting Alicia Pennett as Etta Lotta Spumoni and Dustin McCullough as Alec de Spoon, a pair of rotund customers who have developed an addiction to Pop Sicle’s famous ice cream treats.
Last, but certainly not least, is Chris Michaels, known simply as Ernie, a rather lazy stagehand who shows up at inopportune times.

A STALWART support cast helps bring the play together, with a brightly colored backdrop and memorable costumes. As an added touch, each cast member is fitted with vivid headware.
Directing the play is Terri Piazza, while Tony Piazza serves as technical director and Emma Piazza as stage manager.
Audience members may not be screaming for ice cream this weekend, but thanks to the ensemble performances, the crowds just may be squealing with delight.