Monday, February 1, 2010

Design For Living, Artists Repertory Theatre

Playwright: Noel Coward
Director: John Kretzu

Gilda  .....  Sarah Lucht
Ernest Friedman  .....  Doren Elias
Otto Sylvus  .....  Todd Van Voris
Leo Mercure  .....  Michael Mendelson
Miss Hodges / Grace Torrance  .....  Vana O'Brien
Mr. Birbeck / Henry Carver  .....  Alec Wilson
Helen Carver  .....  Amy Newman
Matthew / Photographer  .....  Tim Hill

sez says: simple plot: she loves them both, they love each other, and they both love her.  Given that as the basic facts to be dealt with a new way of living together must be found..and it is--they will all live together and share the love three ways--via a ménage à trois.  It takes a lot of talk -- much of which is witty and fun -- and a couple scene changes --and some good time hamming it up -- to get to the conclusion that a threesome is the solution.  There are plenty of raised eyebrows from people who live off of art--and who do not understand art (ie are disqualified from having opinions worth considering.)   It is mostly entertaining with the exception of the third scene, it drags on a bit.  Possibly not as shocking today as it was when it was written--but still a worthwhile message: What consenting adults are up to in private is nobody's business but their own.

The production is adequate to the task of telling the story. Sarah Lucht does the best job acting that we have, to date, seen her do. But that has to be understood in the context that we've seen her in many shows and we have never seen her really shine in any of them. So while she's ahead of her own game here that is a relative condition. And, something really weird, she needs to get a haircut that matches the time and place..or at least, she should comb her hair. The night we saw her, her hair was half done--and distracting.  Van Voris and Mendelson seemed to be having  lot of fun  -- making them fun to watch. GRADE C

mjc says:  this had some fun moments with witty dialogue and some good physical stuff  by the actors.  As sometimes happens I wonder how it would be if the acting and production was notched up a couple of clicks, but it was, by and large, an entertaining evening. GRADE C

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