Theatre Mirror Reviews - "More Than What"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

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note: entire contents copyright 2007 by Beverly Creasey

A Lot More Than That,
And Then Some

By Beverly Creasey

If you’re a fan of the Boston Marathon (the dramatic version) you’ll probably remember that Janet Kenney’s MORE THAN WHAT…. was one of the best ten minute plays to come down the pike. Wedding spoofs are always fun and Kenney put a smart, unexpected spin on the obligatory ceremonial kiss.

The beauty of the ten minute play is that you’re always left wanting more. So here’s the good news: More of where that play came from is up at Centastage through March 10th. Kenney’s 7-play cycle (named after the play which started it all) about even more of those wedding participants ---comprises a lively evening of touching scenes and quirky characters.

Kenney knows quite well how to tickle a funny bone but her characters are always surprisingly human and delightfully flawed. Take the groom’s divorced father. Jeff Gill turns in a powerful performance as the joker with a heart of gold. Donna Sorbello breaks it (and ours), as his fragile ex-wife, exhausted, and angry at the disease which is ravaging her frail body. Director Joe Antoun finds, and shows exquisitely, the common ground and love they once shared, making “The Way You Laugh” a shimmering testament to abiding affection.

Characters are woven in and around the wedding so that we meet the bride (the glowing Ellen Adair) and her sister (Sarah Augusta who shines in “The Space Beside Me”) at their father’s gravesite, niftily foreshadowing the lovely scene with Harold Withee as their uncle. Mike Dorval gets lots of laughs as the hapless groom, then he gets to show he’s a mensch who is there for his widowed sister (the riveting Christine Power) and her children no matter what. Rounding out the extraordinary cast is Nikki O’Carroll as the catalyst for the romantic revelation at the reception. Thanks to a lovely production from Centastage, we get the most from MORE.

"More Than What" (23 February - 10 March)
Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street, BOSTON, MA
1 (617) 933-8600

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide