note: entire contents copyright 2008 by Carl A. Rossi
Vi … Grace Butler
Mary … Linda Goetz
Teresa … Janet Sheehan
Catherine … Carlin Chew
Mike … Mark O’Donald
Frank … Jim Butterfield
I caught the closing performance of Salem Theatre Company’s THE MEMORY OF WATER and am sorry you didn’t for Shelagh Stephenson had penned an entertaining “comedy of mourners” about three bickering Yorkshire sisters and their men in their late mum’s bedroom as all prepare for her funeral. (The play’s title refers to a scientific theory that I couldn’t quite fathom, in context.) The evening ran on longer than it should as Ms. Stephenson gave each character numerous solos or duets in the spotlight, and in Act Two I reached for my coat whenever a scene cleverly ended only to put it down for yet another topper. Still, Ms. Stephenson made this dank, complex family perfectly understandable with her gnarly dialogue and added theatre-dashes whenever the mum-ghost popped up to haunt, comfort or enlighten daughter Mary, the once-family hopeful now stuck at several crossroads.
John Fogle staged the comedy in the intimate Griffen Theatre with his reliable detail and sensitivity, and the lived-in excellence of his ensemble kept my clockwatching to a minimum. Jean Fogle contributed a convincing little bedroom steeped in the past, complete with snow beating against a wee window, and Anne Hinton stuffed some bizzaro dresses and hats into the late mum’s wardrobe. Most entertaining --- again, pity that you weren’t there.