REVIEW: 'Dear Ruth' satisfies with humor, romantic triangle and twists

Dear Ruth

Complications arrive in the Wilkins home in the person of Lt. Bill Seawright in the Crestview High School production of "Dear Ruth." From left are Michael Brooks as Judge Wilkins, Katie Rocha as Edith Wilkins, Megan Keiffer as Miriam, Wesley Barlow as Lt. Seawright, and Jill Cumbia as Ruth.

BRIAN HUGHES/News Bulletin
Published: Friday, October 25, 2013 at 10:52 AM.

CRESTVIEW — On the surface, "Dear Ruth," playing through  Saturday night at Crestview High School, seems a straight-forward 1940s romantic comedy.

But there's much more to playwright Norman Krasma's World War II-era tale, and our young thespians tackle its subtleties with skill.

Particularly admirable are leads Jill Cumbia as Ruth Wilkins, and Wesley Barlow as her U.S. Army Air Corpsman pen pal, Lt. Bill Seawright.

Both handled an especially dramatic Act II scene — I won't spoil the plot — with heartfelt performances that defy their tender stage experiences.

Jill's Ruth is winsome, sympathetic and, like the old song says, "torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool."

As Bill, Wesley reminded me of Josh Hartnett in "Pearl Harbor," his emotions ranging between soaring lovesick optimism and dejection.

"All's fair in love and war, and I'm in both," Bill sighs.

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