Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Ladies at The Alamo"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"


entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone

"Ladies at The Alamo"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The closing show of The Little Theatre of Fall River's summer season at The Firebarn is "Ladies At The Alamo". The setting is the lavish reception room of the new multi-million dollar Alamo Theatre, a regional theatre complex in Texas City, Texas, which has grown from a small operation in a converted church to one of the glories of Texas culture. As the action begins we learn the leadership of Dede Cooper, founder and artistic director of the Alamo, is being challenged and the Chairman of the Board, a lady of great wealth and lust for power, is scheming to replace Dede with a fading starlet. As the hour of the decisive board meeting nears, Dede and her second in command, Bella maneuver to outflank their opposition, and as the crisis point is reached the verbal battles and shocking revelations build to a fever pitch and in the end no one is left unscathed. This biting, funny and explosive play is directed by James Robinson who casts these five roles wonderfully, giving each of them distinctive personalities, an alley-cat savagery at times and a certain charm to create a successful and intriguing performance.

Carol Caulfield plays the lead role of Dede perfectly. She is clad is a powder blue evening gown but is a powerhouse presence who just buried her mother and who is director of Chekov's "Sea Gull" which she listens to via a monitor at various points in the show. Carol handles enormous dialogue throughout the evening, making every line count while using wonderful facial expressions to show the feelings of the moment. Carol last speech hurled at her archenemy is superb as she cuts her to shreds. Her second in command, Bella is played by Fern Rouleau who makes this trampy lush of a woman, a force to be reckoned with. Her lines are hilarious as she insults and mocks Dede's 3 enemies with precision, decimating them. Fern also gets to sing and tap dance in this daffy role. The prima donna head of the board, Joanne Remington, is played with dignified class by Dee Kullander. Her hands sparkle with diamonds on each finger as she oozes this wealthy, snobby broad's lines with ease. Dee gets the venomous behavior down beautifully. Deb Medeiros plays Joanne's lackey, Suits who's real name is Beatrice and is overweight. Bella continually mocks her and makes fun of her name in Act 1 but Deb gets to deliver a heartfelt monologue in Act 2 which explains what her character is all about. The final member of this cast is Stacey Cabral who plays an Oscar nominated actress, Shirley Fuller, who returns to take over Dede's job. She failed in a Moliere play in London but believes she can run the Alamo better than Dede. A shocking revelation in Act 2 destroys the facade that Shirley has built and it gives Stacey a transition to play within her character. A word of praise to Darlene Miller for an outstanding unit set of office, reception area, conference table and gigantic window. The marble floor adds a nice finishing touch. Kudos to James and his cast for delivering the goods in this fun filled show. A round of applause to his hard working stage manager, Maryann Goulart who keeps things running smoothly all night long. So for a trip down to Texas to see the backstage backbiting done with a comic flair, be sure to catch "Ladies At The Alamo". (Be sure to watch for the bull horns and a goober to get a long laugh.)

"Ladies at The Alamo" (19 - 26 August)
THE LITTLE THEATRE OF FALL RIVER
The Firebarn, 340 Prospect Street, FALL RIVER MA
1 (508) 675-1852

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

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