Aired on KSDS-FM on 11/1/19
RUN DATES: 10/11/19 – 11/17/19
VENUE: Lamb’s Players Theatre
Meet Hugo and Frédéric, identical twin brothers. By the end of “Ring Round the Moon,” the cold, calculating manipulator discovers that he has a heart, and the romantic milquetoast finds his spine. After many incidents, hurdles and machinations, both wind up perfectly matched.
The play is an English adaptation, written by Christopher Fry in 1950, of a 1947 French satire by Jean Anouilh. It’s the third production of the piece by Lamb’s Players Theatre
The convoluted storyline skewers the vapid upper classes and, in serpentine and metaphoric fashion, explores the vagaries of love. Seventy years on, it feels a little musty, and isn’t as funny as it would like to be.
But Lamb’s gives it a spirited go, with a lovely set, lush costumes, and an all-star local cast of 14, though some play it straight, earning more laughs than those who lean perilously close to over-the-top.
Under the direction of Robert Smyth and Deborah Gilmour Smyth, the most fun is obtained from watching Brian Mackey assay both central roles, marveling at how he manages to make those amazingly fast entrances as a different brother, emerging from different sides of the stage, without seeming at all breathless or winded. He distinguishes the two men beautifully and effortlessly – it’s a wonderful feat of performance.
Other impressive and credible work is offered by Joy Yvonne Jones as the poor girl turned, Pygmalion-like, into a would-be Princess; Deborah Gilmour Smyth as a sniping Maggie Smith-like matriarch; David McBean as her pathologically loyal butler; Rachael Van Wormer as a spoiled, snarky rich girl; Manny Fernandes as her too-rich, dyspeptic father; and Donny Gersonde, as his private secretary, who’s sneaking around with his boss’ mistress.
As Gilmour Smyth reminds us, imperiously, “Everything has to end happily.” And so it does. But it takes a pretty long time to get there.
Still, there’s some poetic language along the way, and a few good zingers about love, poverty and wealth. Mostly, though, “Moon” is a pretty frothy trifle that provides an actors’ showcase and a chuckle or two.
©2019 PAT LAUNER