Review: 'No Dogs Allowed' by Landmark Student Theatre

Nancy Sasso Janis

Thomaston, CT - Landmark Student Theatre presented two performances of an adorable production of ‘No Dogs Aloud’ live on the main stage of the Thomaston Opera House this weekend. Four of the cast members were young actors and the other four were community theatre adult actors; they all worked nicely together to get this little show on the Opera House stage for young audiences to enjoy.

Director Jeffrey Dunn calls ‘No Dogs Aloud’ a timeless story about family and reveals that during the rehearsal process the cast has become a theatre family. “We have worked, laughed, played and even yelled once or twice.” The Mcdougal family in the play has left the city for a simpler life on a farm in the country. “This is a story for any child that has ever wanted a pet and EVERY parent that at one time or another says NO.” 

Cast member Steve Sorriero came out to do the curtain speech in costume and did so in an endearing grandfatherly manner that put the young ones in the audience at ease. The first two acts were a neat 50 minutes; after intermission the third act resolved the chaos that closed the second act and even included a dream sequence.

In the role of Junket, Caitlin Barra was a believable farm dog so named because she had taken so many trips around the countryside. Ms. Barra never broke character and charmed the little ones in the audience as easily as the grownups that brought them. Mr. Sorriero (with his signature handlebar mustache) was the genial farmer hand Peter Paley who had worked with Junket before the farm was sold. 

Lou Guertin played the new homeowner Mr. McDougal, a former professor bringing his family to the country for fresh air and quiet, and Kate Sileo played his wife. Their children were played by Brady Mckenna as Michael, Jordan Mae Curtis as Margaret and the unsinkable Hailey Auburn as Molly. All three young actors did well with their roles and Ms. Auburn’s stage presence belied her age. The wonderful Kathy Cook had the role of their new neighbor, Miss Peckett. 

The show is set in a typical farmhouse and yard somewhere in the country and scenic painters Bob Brophy, Pat Piscopo, Ashley Royer (who also did the props) and David Verdosci did a fine job of putting that scene on the stage. The staff of Mindscape Industries conceived and constructed the many elements of the production.  Barbara Piscopo’s costumes were up to her usual standards. Lighting by Abbey Elias was nicely done and sound by Jared Albi worked well. 

After the curtain call, the actors remained onstage to interact with audience members, sign autographs and pose for photos.

Photo: Landmark Community Theatre