The Ding Dongs: Welcome Home?


What’s worse than a Ding Dong Ditch…?  A Ding Dong Stay. In Brenda Withers’ The Ding Dongs this odd phenomenon comes to life.  From August 11 to 27, the comedic thriller will play at the Gloucester Stage Company on Wednesday through Sunday at varying times.

Whether it be for the knee-slapping jokes, the cozy theatre environment, or the witty dialogue, this play is well worth it.

On a Sunday afternoon, members of the community decided to skip a perfect beach day, and instead filled the seats of the live theatre and responded greatly to what occurred before them.

Throughout the scenes, each form of laughter could be heard. Snorting, giggling, loud HA’s.  It was as if the play takes place in a theatre of farm animals- in the best way possible.  

Written by Brenda Withers from Cape Cod, and directed by Gloucester Stage Co.’s artistic director Rebecca Bradshaw, the Ding Dongs is a perfect addition to the 2023 season here in artistic Cape Ann.

Originally, the play had its debut in 2022 at the Kitchen Theatre Company in New York.  Despite the location change, the cast and director remain the same ensuring for a cohesive act on stage.

The play stars three experienced actors, Karl Gregory as Joe, Erica Steinhagen as Natalie, and Nael Nacer as Redelmo. 

Joe and Natalie are a married couple, a suburban-dad and soccer-mom, that decide to visit “their” childhood home.  This residence, which was actually only Joe’s childhood home, is now where Redelmo lives with his deceased brother’s two children. 

The couple eagerly ask to enter the home so they can simply walk around and feel the nostalgia- or as Joe puts it déjà vu.

When Redelmo hesitates to let these strangers into their home, the couple do not give up, and ultimately finagle their way in.  As the three stand in the living room, it soon becomes apparent that Joe and Natalie are not ready to leave anytime soon.

The play will get you thinking.  What’s in there?  What did he do?  Though it is a short 75 minutes, you’ll be left with many questions and perhaps a new perspective on the idea of change and revenge.

The dialogue, which has been impressively memorized by each actor, is witty, sometimes frustrating, and awkwardly hilarious.  To match, Joe, Natalie, and Redelmo, utilize facial expressions that leave the audience with tears and shaking bodies out of laughter.

There are abrupt moments of rage that can make you jump, but also sadness that leaves a quiet aroma in the room. 

As the theatre turns black, signaling the end, this mixture of emotions will leave you wanting more.

ding dong, rock 'n' roll rebels, gloucester stage company, joe, natalie, bobby sheen, ding yu, ding, nael nacer, karl gregory, brenda withers, shawn g. henry, redelmo, cape cod, rebecca bradshaw, erica steinhagen, kitchen theatre company, cape ann