By the time this issue hits the racks, there will be two weekends of the latest South of the Salt Line production left. Don’t waste time; grab tickets to “When the Saints Go Marching In at Cockroach Hall” now.

If you liked “Don’t Frack with Society Shell,” you’ll have an even better experience at this latest play by Tom Perez. The writing is tighter and the hilarity more abundant in a satire with plenty of acidic humor to pass around.

While several of the performances on opening night topped what we found last year – with the in-your-face ‘tude of an Eastern Shore socialite and a lusty nun coming immediately to mind – a trio stand out.

Christopher Spencer shows a nice grasp of nuance in his portrayal of a government worker who harkens back to a humorless and fringe-worthy attorney general our state boasted not long ago. It’s Spencer’s spot-on comic timing though that delivers perhaps the most show-stopping laughter of the evening.

Daniel Mainwaring is hilarious as one half of a spectral couple who provide the true heart of the story. Though his attire conjures the spirit of Tom Wolfe, others in the know will recognize a local literary icon in his behavior. The clue is in the astrology.

But it’s Charlie Kelly who steals the show. His pitch-perfect treatment of his character is just campy enough to carry its humor all the way to the back row, but he doesn’t leave teeth marks on the scenery. Every time Kelly enters the stage, the energy level skyrockets plus his musical ability transcends that of his fellow players.
Add in one character’s cover of a sizzling Bessie Smith hit that brought audible titters from the audience and you’ve got the risqué flavor Mobilians crave.
Whether this play results in an extended engagement like last year’s offering, I don’t know. My hunch is that once word gets out, demand will balloon. Rightfully so.