Curtain Call Theatre’s Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Will Warm You with Laughter and Love

What happens when you combine a very funny play, an excellent cast, superb direction, a great set, and a trip back to the 1970s that every person of a certain age can relate to? Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help currently at Curtain Call Theatre in Latham.

The show as we are told at the opening, is a memory play, being brought to us by then-19-year-old Linda O’Shea, eldest daughter of the O’Shea family, who recounts to the audience the most upsetting and tumultuous day of her life. She is consistently interrupted by her family, who want to join in the explanation and tell their side of the story to the audience.

For the most, the play is funny, warm, and endearing. However, it also adds in some heft with discussions about the birds and the bees, women’s roles in the 1970s, and perhaps most importantly, a family’s reputation in a small, tight-knit lower-middle-class Irish Catholic parish where reputation is all a family has to live and die by.

Talia Hotailing as Linda O’Shea blows onto the Curtain Call stage like a breath of fresh air. She is engaging, real and lovable. During Friday evening’s performance, she responded to an overzealous fully engaged audience member without ever missing a beat, as if she were a plant in the audience. Also new to the Curtain Call stage is Erin Morrison as younger sister Becky. Morrison matches the seasoned cast stride for stride and line for line. 

Returning Curtain Call vets include Pam O’Connor, Jo, the mother keeping her household and family together. Robin Leary, Jo’s sister Terri who is staying with the O’Sheas while she goes through a rough patch at home with her husband, and Steve Liefer, who plays several roles, including the family patriarch Mike and Parish Priest Father Lovett among others.

O’Connor offers empathy, strength and humor to the cast while dishing up a mother’s concern and love. Leary is the crusty woman with a soft side, the relatable quirky aunt that either secretly or not, everyone wishes was a member of their family. Never afraid to speak her mind. And Liefer is a curmudgeon, fairly self-absorbed and almost removed from the machinations of the family’s goings-on. The three are a perfect trio and round out the ideal cast of five.

No stranger to area stages, David Bunce has brought his years of deft direction to the Curtain Call stage for the first time. He is able to achieve beautifully nuanced performances from each member of the cast. 

Jack Golden’s scenic design, Rebecca Gardner’s prop design, and Beth Ruman’s costumes all perfectly create a world so familiar real and reminiscent of 1973.

Every so often, a professional company pulls off an ideal mix of the technical, the written word, the cast that is able to present it, and a director who is able to get that magical performance from their cast. Less often is a community theater able to accomplish all of that in a single production. What a pleasure and thrill to see Curtain Call present what is perhaps their most perfectly put together comedic production in recent memory. 

Incident is a production that stands up to any professional company in the area in all aspects. The show has a message among the laughter, about the role of women in a time when women’s roles in the world were just beginning to change.  We are given the same advantage as our narrator Linda of the ability of hindsight to see how the world has changed and evolved, and how far we have come. 

If there is a production not to be missed this season, it is Katie Forgette’s funny, warm, endearing  Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. 

Incident runs Thursday through Sunday, May 7, at Curtain Call Theatre, 1 Jeanne Jugan Lane, Latham.  All seats are $30. For reservations, call the box office at 518-877-7529 or online at

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