There's something very different on the stage of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre of Jamestown.
''Panache'' by Don Gordon isn't a frothy comedy, and it isn't a musical show. It's a play about people learning to live with each other, and with themselves.
Opening night on Friday evening had some surprises in it. The biggest was that for reasons not explained, the leading role was played by the play's director, Adam Owens. In a few spots, he even needed to resort to a script in hand, but the role was a huge one, and the characterization was solid, and most effective. It was a most impressive performance.
The play itself is much too long, and too wordy. Everything is resolved in words, with little action of any kind. Nonetheless, the playwright has concocted a fascinating pair of dissimilar characters and found for them a connection to one another which worked very well.
The plot hinges on vanity license plates. The wealthy Kathleen Trafalgar has tried to order plates for her husband's car which spell out the word ''Panache,'' because she believes it describes his personality. To her disappointment, she learns that her desired plate is already owned by a middle-class man, living in a small apartment in Brooklyn.
She drives from Scarsdale to his address and tries to pay him to give up the license, but she learns he has chosen it because it reminds him of his late wife, who died of cancer in the midst of a wonderful relationship.
At first, the pair are total opposites, but as they interact, they begin to find things in one another which they want in their lives, and which aren't in their lives any more.
Patricia Culliton did a nice job as the wealthy woman, used to buying what she needs and politely ignoring anything she wants or needs which isn't convenient. Her gradual unwinding from the uptight beginning was well timed and very moving.
Set designer Norm Merrill has done a fine job of producing a city apartment which calls to mind the one occupied by Ralph Kramden in the well-known ''Honeymooners.'' Jordan Streeter's music design uses familiar sounds from popular culture to highlight the progress of the plot's moods.
It's a production with flaws, but it's something new and different and very alive, and I enjoyed it very much.
''Panache'' continues through March 18 at the home facility of the Lucille Ball Little Theatre, on East Second Street, in downtown Jamestown.