“Leaving Iowa” by Tim Clue and Spike Manton at Taproot Theatre

Family vacations, long rides with Mom and Dad to get to favored locations! How we looked forward to them as kids. But think about it, weren’t the car trips sheer hell? “She’s sitting on my side!” “He took my book!” “One more word out of you and I’m stopping this car and giving you both the smack you deserve.” Complaints, fights, boredom, teasing, interminable hours, disappointments. “Leaving Iowa” captures it all. It’s a rollicking ride down memory lane, far enough removed in time from your own experiences it allows the humor full expression.

Director Karen Lund has drawn together a cast of gifted actors, all of whom inhabit their roles with panache. Helen Harvester as Sis deserves special mention, however. She’s the quintessential bratty sister. Her pouts, sneaky moves, conniving, and carefully planned displays of affection are so right on it’s hard to believe she’s not a kid.

Ryan Childers must be specially commended too. He plays a succession of off-beat characters, the sort one all too often meets on road trips, and he gives each a unique identity.

The story is told in flashbacks. It’s not masterpiece theatre. You won’t leave mulling over deep issues or questions of conscience. It is, however, very funny, and like Iowa, it’s all American, down home, and comfortable. It touches the heart as well as the funny bone.

Through June 16 at Taproot Theatre, 204 N. 85 St., Seattle, $15-37, (206 781-9707 or www.taproottheatre.org)

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