note: entire contents copyright 2006 by Beverly Creasey
Hovey audiences were in for a treat last weekend, getting to meet Austrailian playwright Pamela Whalan. Her amusing adaptation of Austen’s SENSE & SENSIBILITY is a faithful –- and witty — indictment of 19th century English country manners. Austen skewers our (enduring) appetite for secondhand news, outright gossip and overheard conversations. Her characters bicker endlessly--- mind you, oh so courteously--- about inheritance, financial prospects and fortunate liaisons. (You may recall the antics in the delightful Emma Thompson-Hugh Grant film of a few years ago.)
Director Michelle Aguillon emphasizes the humor by stylizing, and broadening the irony so that characters are almost, but not quite caricature. Tracy Nygard and Mike Soulios play the obviously money hungry (obvious to everyone but themselves) in-laws of the good natured Dashwood sisters: One has more common sense (Leigh Berry) and the other more romantic sensibilities (Sara Jones). Their misfortunes, and eventual triumph over sorrow, include Evan Bernstein in two polar opposite “brother” roles, Michael Peluso as the dashing colonel, Angus Merry as a dastardly n’er-do-well and Jill Wassong as the girls’ loving mother.
Mark Sickler gets a comic turn as the magnanimous uncle and Kristin Hughes is the delightful “mother hen” who worries constantly about the girls’ future. Brashani Reece plays the spoiler like a nervous racehorse, chomping at the bit. Kimmerie H.O.Jones’ gorgeous period costumes and Aguillon and Gabrielle Aguillon-Hatcher’s sumptuous sets shimmer in Matthew Silverstein’s early morning English light.
Through next weekend only.