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.
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
Sheridan was just 24 years old, that youthful freshness stands
The Rivals in good stead at the King's County
Shakespeare Company . . .
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
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