Shakespeare for Everyone

 

2000
St. Francis College
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by Richard Brinsley Sheridan
directed by Deborah Wright Houston

 

Sir Anthony Absolute, as played by Joseph Small, bellows and sputters paternal tirades and polemics with exquisite exasperated delivery and in the frisky spirit the author intended.  His is one of several finely wrought performances that elevate director Deborah Wright Houston's  smooth staging.  Charming and vivacious, it's a frolicsome summer diversion, centering on the mischievous escapades of the affluent Captain Absolute (Alex Roe), who poses as a poor ensign to win the love of the romantically deluded Lydia Languish (Bev Lacy).  Amid all the mistaken identity and misunderstood feelings, Lacy splendidly captures her character's flippancy.  Likewise, Donald Bledsoe, as the hapless bumpkin Bob Acres, balances clever characterization with masterful farcical zest.

Costume designer Cathy Maguire and Houston, who in a Julie Taymoresque turn also designed the production's sumptuous wigs, have put plenty of imagination into visual elements.  Mrs. Malaprop (Vicki Hirsch) struts onstage in a bodacious bonnet sprouting flowers and a couple of lofty white feathers at the back.

Boosted by a strong ensemble--including Roe, Hirsch's robustly ferocious Mrs. Malaprop, John Flaherty as the ferociously bellicose Lucius O'Trigger, and Ian Gould as Captain Absolute's servant, Fag--the entire production was just as bouncy and playful.

Diane Snyder, Backstage

Written when Sheridan was just 24 years old, that youthful freshness stands The Rivals in good stead at the King's County Shakespeare Company . . . as directed by Deborah Wright Houston, everything moved like clockwork and the laughs came on cue.  Visually the production was an eye-popping parade of lavish period costumes (kudos to Cathy Maguire) and lovely sets and lighting (kudos to Dan Nichols as well).

Sparkle and fizz  were effortlessly supplied by Vicki Hirsch as Mrs. Malaprop and Joseph Small as Sir Anthony Absolute. Hirsch, looking like a Bo-Peep who never quite recovered from the loss of her sheep, made a fabulously formidable she-dragon, swooping around the stage as if it were her own personal property. Which of course it was, every single time she opened her mouth to pontificate with that hilariously infamous vocabulary that coined a phrase.  Likewise, Small was a similar pro whose every mutter, stutter and sputter lifted the production into the realm of the intoxicatingly sublime. Together and apart, these two never failed to delight and kept one awaiting their every appearance with breathless anticipation.

Doug DeVita, Off-Off-Broadway Review
www.oobr.com

 

 

Left, Vicki Hirsch (Mrs. Malaprop) and Joseph Small (Sir Anthony Absolute).  Right, AndrÚs Santofimio (David).

CAST

Sir Anthony Absolute

Joseph Small*

Mrs. Malaprop

Vicki Hirsch*

Captain Absolute

Alex Roe

Lydia Languish

Bev Lacy

Faulkland

Frank Smith

Julia Melville

Sherri Pullum*

Bob Acres

Donald Bledsoe

Sir Lucious O' Trigger

John Flaherty*

Lucy

Jovinna Chan

Fag

Ian Gould

David

AndrÚs Santofimio

Thomas, the Coachman

Roger Dale Stude

Page/Errand Boy

Ashlynne Holder-Mosley

Kate, a Maid

Carrie Edel

Servants/Townspeople

Lucie Chin
Sabrina Yocono
Stephanie Fath Scott

*Member of Actors' Equity Association (AEA)

CREW

Assistant Director

Hannah Grannemann

Stage Manager

Michael Dempsey

Costume Design

Cathy Maguire

Wig Design

Deborah Wright Houston

Wardrobe Mistress

Nesha Sellers

Properties Manager

Lucie Chin

Set & Lighting Design

Dan Nichols

Fight Director

Lucie Chin

Fight Captain

Frank Smith

Sound Design

Alex Roe

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