Theatre Mirror Reviews - "OUR TOWN"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The opening show of Providence College's Blackfriars Theatre is "Our Town", Thornton Wilder's 1938 Pulitzer Prize winning play. The show tells about life in Grover's Corner, New Hampshire from 1901 to 1913. This version is intimate and timely. It features two stage managers who not only explain the action of the characters but also become part of the show. Through the use of flashbacks, dialogue, and direct monologues, the other characters reveal themselves to the audience and interacts with them. Director John Garrity has his huge cast pantomiming the props and handle the transitions from scene to scene beautifully. John makes the message of live each day to its fullest ring true for contemporary audiences in the 21st Century, too.

However the comic moments in the first two acts need to be more focused and apparent to the audience to make the dramatic third act stand out. Maybe this was due to opening night jitters. Also the use of two stage managers is distracting with the dialogue because just as you become adjusted to one vocal quality it changes to another dynamic with another vocal quality. John has his cast enter from the audience to the stage area and keeps the house lights up for too long a time diluting the power of the script. Brian Kozek is brilliant as one of the stage managers and is very natural speaking directly to the audience. The other stage manager is handled wonderfully by Amanda Piechota as they set up the scenes of this show, telling the other characters what to do.The main characters of "Our Town" are George Gibbs, a doctor's son and Emily Webb, a daughter of a newspaper editor. The play covers their life together from childhood to courtship and marriage to death with the funeral at show's end. They are next door neighbors who look at the moon and stars together from their respective homes. Steven Sawan as George, transforms himself from the young boy, to teen and finally adulthood. Emily Clark plays Emily and displays her young girl antics and later on Emily's more mature relationship with George comes through especially in the argument, soda shop and wedding scene in Act 2.

Both Veronica Murphy as Mrs. Webb and Gabriella Sanchez as Mrs. Gibbs do a nice job with their miming, cooking the breakfast scenes. They look like they are using real food in them and also display the warmth between mother and child as well as husband and wife throughout the show. Jonathan Coppe as Dr. Gibbs and William Oser as Mr. Webb play their roles well, too.The younger siblings are well played by Honey Perez as the pesky, Rebecca Gibbs who bothers her brother when he flirts with Emily at his bedroom window and Caprial Harris as Molly Webb. Another scene stealer is Aisling Sheahan as Mrs. Soames, the town gossip who chats with the ladies after rehearsal and then tells the audience what a lovely wedding dress it is during the sacred vows So for a trip back to the past, catch "Our Town" at PC and witness a well written Pulitzer Prize winning play.

OUR TOWN (21 to 30 October)
Providence College, Angell Blackfriars Theatre, Eaton St, Providence, RI
1(401)865-2218 or

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