FRONT ROW CENTER
Review by Michael Warren
LLT Summer Studio
Facilitated by Roseann Wilshere
This year’s Summer Studio featured ten scenes from various plays, a little taste of each. For some of the performers it was their first time on stage, while the more experienced performers had a chance to have some fun and “strut their stuff.” And the playlets were well appreciated by an almost full-house audience there to enjoy the evening and to applaud their friends.
I particularly liked God’s Waiting Room—a very funny scene played with great timing by Jeritza McCarter and Betty Lloyd Robinson; earlier Jim Collums and Jane Isbell portrayed a hilarious confessional, more than the priest could handle in Rules of Love. The Neil Simon piece from The Prisoner of Second Avenue featuring Catherine Huff and Zane Pumiglia was also very entertaining; while Keith Scott was plausibly underhand and suspicious to Terry Pitzner’s straight man in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Some of the scenes required emotional range, for example the piece from Beaches where Sally Jo Bartlett played the dying “Bertie” unsure whether she should entrust her child to her flighty friend “Cee-Cee” (Randi Watkins). This difficult scene was well handled by two experienced actors. I was less comfortable with Sally and Marsha played by Diana Rowland and Georgette Richmond, mostly because the abrupt changes in mood were difficult to understand. Birds in Church was a cute little piece with Judy McKinnon and Suzanne Forrest as two nuns wondering whether to catch or release birds that were fluttering around their church. There were some awkward pauses, but on the whole the piece was well done.
There were two playlets featuring young newcomers—Our Skinny Teeth with Denae Dobko and Meagan Taylor; and Paradise with Ashley Taylor and Liliana Barker. These were fun pieces and the actors were lively and attractive—however, they do need to work on diction and projection, because I couldn’t hear all the lines.
And finally there was Shakespeare, a scene from The Taming of the Shrew. Shakespeare can be difficult to carry off with a modern audience, because of the wordplay that the Elizabethans loved. Russell Mack was a bold Petruchio, and took his lines at a frantic pace, wooing the unwilling Katherine. Kristine Moily was excellent in the part—certainly this was a fine scene to end our evening’s entertainment.
To round off the Summer Theatre scene, the Lakeside Little Theatre is putting on a series of Risky Readings. This is a series of play readings every Saturday at 7.30 pm from July 19 to August 9 inclusive. By the time you read these lines, they will have already performed Six Characters In Search Of An Author by Luigi Pirandello, The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and What The Butler Saw by Joe Orton.
However, you mustn’t miss the world premiere on August 9 of The Perfect Alibi by Michael Warren. Yes, your humble scribe has written an incredibly entertaining whodunit, featuring a rich and ruthless newspaper magnate, his worldly wife, his sexy mistress and sundry suspicious characters, all of whom would like to see him dead. Some readers may recall Robert Maxwell, the millionaire owner of the Mirror chain of newspapers—his body was found floating in the Mediterranean and subsequently it was discovered that he had embezzled a large amount of money from the Mirror Pension Fund. My hero (or villain) Sir Aubrey Winner bears some resemblance to the late Robert Maxwell. Add a surprise twist at the end, and you won’t want to miss The Perfect Alibi!
(Ed. Note: Now who can we get to review Michael’s own play? We’re looking for someone with a very nasty outlook on life in general, and the theater in particular.)