Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Review Posted: Lettice and Lovage

My review of Redtwist Theatre's Lettice and Lovage has gone up on Centerstage. Whether or not you should go depends on your love of things British, witty, and whimsical. If you're a fan, you'll probably have a great time. If not, the show's flaws may get to you. Here's the text of the review to help you make up your mind:

For some plays, charm is everything. Peter Shaffer's "Lettice and Lovage," for example, would have little to recommend it if produced without a whole lot of charm. Luckily, Steve Scott's intimate production at Redtwist is graced with delightful performances by Millicent Hurley and Jan Ellen Graves, as well as a nimble supporting cast and designs that make the very best of the tiny stage. Together they make for a very fun show that almost covers the script's problems.

Lettice Douffet (Hurley, in a role originated by Maggie Smith) is a tour guide at Fustian House, the dullest of England's historic homes. One day she realizes that if she helps history along with her own inventions, the tour will become far more popular — and she'll get far more tips. This goes well until Lotte Schoen (Graves), from the Preservation Trust, discovers her fabrications, endangering her job. But the play isn't over, and the blossoming of the friendship of these two unusual women makes up the rest of the show.

"Lettice and Lovage" is full of very British witticisms, and for those who love such language (and I count myself a member of that group), there's a lot of fun to be had watching the two actresses deliver the lines. They're clearly having the times of their lives, and it's a joy to witness. But eventually the relentless cheer and inoffensive gentility can get rather tedious. The fact that the second act is virtually without dramatic conflict and the third needlessly protracted contribute to this problem significantly.

But even when things get slow, there is charm to carry the day. Hurley's airy fantasies play beautifully opposite Graves's trenchant wit, and Scott has staged the production gracefully on Jack Magaw's lovely and witty set. The show may not be a fully satisfying theatrical meal, but it's a delicious dessert.


Melissa said...

How can we contact you?

Zev Valancy said...

Since I'm reluctant to leave my email address out where spambots can get it, the best way to reach me is by visiting my Centerstage page and clicking the "E-mail Zev" button:

I look forward to hearing from you.