Here, we follow the Frake family to the Iowa State Fair. Father Abel is bringing a behemoth porker for judging, mother Melissa enters pickles and mincemeat (much is made of the "secret ingredient," brandy), and youthful offspring Wayne and Margy have only their hearts on offer. Will the kids leave their hometown sweeties for the city slickers they'll meet at the fair?
State Fair was intended for the screen, and it shows -- scenes end with blackout wisecracks, few of which the Stages company timed precisely right (a touch too rushed, mostly). And what to make of the most tender love song in the show, "More Than Just a Friend," which Abel and pals sing to the cochon? For the most part, the cast was commendable, and Michael Hamilton's direction snappy. As Abel, Rich Pisarkiewicz possesses a liquid, limpid croon that seems historically apropos. Zoe Vonder Haar, as his wife, shares warmth, if not pipes. Though Janine Burmeister and Jeremy Koch as the kids seem a touch, well, mature for these ingenuous roles -- and Burmeister is burdened with a lampshade of a wig -- they've got plenty of zip as well.
Dana Lewis' choreography depends a touch too much on grin-in-place-and-shuffle, but it's a small stage, and it's not like this is, well, Oklahoma!
State Fair continues through July 2.
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