WBT – Feb 17, ‘11

Let us start first with the play.

Sure women like to have doors held open and chairs held out for them.  But it is probably not a divorce maker if the man is negligent in that area.  So when Agnes says she is leaving for such reasons, we have to leave fantasy-land and say:  wha-a-t?  Of course seconds later she abandons her plan to leave the marriage after many years because Michael gives her a gift.  No one – not even women – fall in and out of love so casually.  But a little corn in a 55 year old play is expectable and acceptable.

Come to think of it, I like to have doors held open for me, too!

So don’t see this play for enlightenment about marriage.  But do see it.  I have never seen a production at the WBT that was not worth seeing and, except for the eggplant, the food is good too. 

But this is not a restaurant review, so scratch that.  I mean give a vegetarian a grilled cheese sandwich or a personal pizza or a blueberry blintz or something.  But I digress.

It is very difficult for an actor to play a twenty-something, then intermediate steps to senior citizens.  Makeup can make you old, and good actors can play to that, but youth is callow and it takes special effort to let that much go to be effective.  In this case neither Lauri nor Mark are persuasive as twenty-somethings.   But as they progress they grow into the roles and Lauri’s natural inner glow takes over the stage and she becomes attractive and alluring.  Michael’s vanity is well-played by Mark, but this is not drama, so we forgive lacks in this area.

I have commented on the sound before and must do so again.  Either the theatre’s system needs revamping or the soundman needs to pay more attention.  It is uneven.  Whoever is operating the board is not balancing it properly, unless that is an artifact of a very large, high-ceilinged room with problems I am not aware of.

Lauri’s microphone was visible on her forehead;  shouldn’t have been.  Exacting technicians weave these tiny, high performance, very expensive devices through hair or costume concealing them enctirely.  If a man is bald we sometimes see a trace of a mic, but Lauri is not and it was a distraction.  (I have been informed that perhaps there was a ‘wig’ issue, which might justify the visible mic.  Not to cavil over a detail.)

So, as in almost everything, perfection is all but impossible to achieve.  But WBT’s productions are always well-done and worthwhile.  And convenient and inexpensive.  I recommend them and this play.