By Dylan Hares, Staff Writer

We all have people in our lives that we just can’t stand. Luckily, few of us can say that those people literally ruin our lives and bring us to the brink of madness.

But such is the case for the character of Willum Cubert when a long-lost friend comes over to stay in the George Mason University Players’ rendition of Larry Shue’s 1981 play, The Nerd. The stage lights up with the rather bland architect Willum surprised by his more lively friends, Tansy and Axel.

A long exchange ensues, and the audience learns that Willum’s primary love interest, Tansy, is moving away, leaving Willum and his fast-talking friend Axel depressed.

Student Michael Burgos, who plays Willum, plays the slow-talking awkward role to near perfection, exuding that too-nice guy feel — he can’t speak up, say no or express what he actually wants.

Willum’s birthday party takes a turn for the worse when a character from his past, Rick Steadman, comes over with all the subtlety of a bull on cocaine.

English major Joshua McCreary is absolutely stunning in this role as the boisterous Rick. From the moment he comes on stage in a ridiculous purple monster costume, the audience watches Rick’s every movement and laughs at just about everything he does.

As with most stories of the house guest who can’t take a hint and the host who just can’t say no, Rick invades and ruins just about every part of Willum’s life from his job to his relationship to his sanity. He wrecks the birthday party, keeps Willum up at night and, most horrifically, throws cottage cheese on Willum’s boss.

Freshman English and theater major Paul Laudiero plays Axel in his first show at Mason and does a stunning job with timing and expression.

While being one of the more vulgar characters, he is certainly one of the most entertaining. Junior theater and communication major, Maxie Morales plays the lovely Tansy, the conflicted love interest of Willum. Her comedic dynamic with most of the characters, especially the wild Axel, leaves the crowd laughing and wanting more.

As to be expected from the Players, every single one of the actors delivered an astonishing and marvelous performance that, thanks to the comedic styling and surprisingly well-written script of Larry Shue, left the crowd laughing throughout the entire play.

Not to be ignored was the magnificent music choice of not only the intermission but the final song which fit perfectly with the unexpected ending that can only be described as genius.