Cleveland Play House’s production of ‘Little Houses’ is built with love


Cath (Kate Eastman) quits her high pressure (and high paying) job in finance in New York City to travel to Portland, Oregon with her new boyfriend of four months, Bohdi (Peter Hargrave) to build a “Tiny House” on a 400 square foot trailer (roughly 26’x16’) on Bohdi’s best friend Ollie’s (Michael Doherty) back yard that is located just outside the city. Ollie makes his living selling haunted dolls on-line..

Enter Bohdi’s childhood sweetheart, Jevne (Nandita Shenoy) who still carries a torch (Bohdi was her first “everything”) who makes her living as an ASMRtist or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response Creator helping half a million lost souls find peace and tranquility through her pod casts. Add to the mix an actual experienced building contractor, Jeremiah (James Holloway) who in the course of fixing the multitude of errors in the construction falls for Cath. What could possibly go wrong?

This is the gist of the delightful Cleveland Play House comedy of Chelsea Marcantel’s Tiny Houses now on stage in the Outcalt Theatre at Playhouse Square. Chock full of wonderfully strange characters in a unique situation it is a show about the consequences of making rash decisions that will affect the outcome of person’s lives.

The most fascinating part of the show is the fact that in a mere 90 minutes (no intermission) an entire two story tiny house is built in front of your eyes on stage. All the while the builders have to deal with numerous delays, weather, mistakes and each other.

Kate Eastman as Cath is superb as she is brimming over with self determination on getting the house completed no matter what and sharing it with someone even if it is with just her soon to be born child. Peter Hargrave as Bohdi is convincing as the easily distracted man/child who flits from passion to passion never resting for long in one place. Michael Doherty with his wonderful Englishish accent (I’m from South Africa, thank you!) is a wonderful bundle of of perpetual motion who does his best to keep everyone pleasant. Nandita Shenoy as the petite Jevne is this multilayered new-ager all pig-tails and wildly colored outfits and leggings. She uses cuteness as a weapon to win back the man she lost. James Holloway as Jeremiah (the only one with a normal name according to Cath) goes from hired consultant to friend to companion in an easy transition between the three.

Special mention must also be made of the additional carpenters that were part of the building magic that went on. They include Cayla DeStefano, Andy Rowlan and Kaleb Yandrick who contributed loads of work during the brief between the scenes pauses.

There is some adult language but for the most part this is a good fit for most families.

Although quite predictable, this sweet comedic tale of attempting to simplify one’s life has a lot of heart. It truly is a labor of love that will enthrall you and make you smile with it’s happy conclusion. Fill the seats for this one.

The Cleveland Play House production of Tiny Houses will be on stage in the Outcalt Theatre at Playhouse Square through April 14, 2019. Tickets may be purchased online by going to www.clevelandplayhouse.com, by phone by calling (216) 241-6000 or by stopping by the Playhouse Square Box Office located in the outer lobby of the State Theatre.

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Who is Mark Horning?

Over the course of my life I have worked a variety of jobs including newspapers, retail camera sales and photography. Eight years ago I embarked on yet another career as writer. This included articles concerning sports and cultural events in Cleveland, Ohio as well reviews of the many theatrical productions around town. These days are spent photographing professional dance groups, theater companies and various galas and festivals as well as attending various stage performances and posting reviews about them.