note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey
You have one more week to see the Lyric Stage Company’s hilarious ARMS AND THE MAN, which closes June 2nd. George Bernard Shaw’s surprisingly buoyant send-up of love and war is directed “opera buffa” style by the Lyric’s king of comedy, Spiro Veloudos. He spares no double entendre or double take, for that matter. Once the story gets rolling, it’s every man for himself---and the actors have a ball with the shenanigans.
ARMS is one of Shaw’s early plays and although it possesses that characteristic Shavian wit and sardonic view of convention, it’s light as a feather, believe it or not---and Veloudos can take most of the credit for its delicious, loopy charm. The women work up a lather outwitting the men and all misguided notions about war as a noble pursuit are deflated like punctured balloons.
Ellen Adair gives an exquisite performance as the sweet, deluded young woman who fantasizes about knights in bloody armor. James Ryen is wonderfully pompous as the self-congratulating captain who’s just asking to be taken down a peg—and Sarah Abrams is the girl clever enough to do it!
Barlow Adamson is perfection as the professional Swiss soldier with no illusions about either romance or battle---and who wouldn’t love a show which gives both Bobbi Steinbach and Ken Baltin multiple opportunities to feign indignation. Peter A. Carey, too, gives a sly performance as the butler who’s just as happy to have lost his difficult, disapproving fiancée. The mere notion of “a fresh abyss opening” in front of this hapless bunch, has me giggling all over again. Don’t miss the fun.