The current show at 2nd Story Theatre downstage is "And Miss Reardon Drinks A Little'' by Paul Zindel.The controlling mother of the three Reardon sisters has recently died, and the three adult siblings, who all work in the crumbling Staten Island school system, are coping with the wreckage she has left. The oldest sister Ceil, as no nonsense and take-charge as her mother, has left the family apartment to marry and bury herself in a high end administrative position. The abrasive and foulmouthed Catherine drowns her romantic disappointment in pitchers of Manhattans. She is the character who drinks a little and Ceil's husband is Catherine's former boyfriend. However the worst off sister is the youngest one, Anna who is convinced she has rabies and suffers a nervous breakdown. She also indulges in an affair with one of her male students. Fleur Stein, an overbearing guidance counselor from Anna and Catherine's school appears on the scene to suck up to Ceil and wreak havoc on the other sisters. Her husband, Bob is the person who drops a bombshell on the sisters altering their lives forever. Throw in a pushy cosmetic selling neighbor and a young delivery boy to the mix of characters and you have the necessary ingredients for splendid show that makes you laugh and think at the same time with its dramatic power and punch. Mark Peckham elicits stunning performances from his multitalented cast, winning them a standing ovation at the close of this seventy five minute one act play.
His blocking of this show is excellent especially of the character of Anna who climbs on the furniture to display the tortured creature's mental decline. The acting is terrific in this show. Playing the constantly swearing Catherine who likes to tipple quite a bit, is Lara Hakeem. She steals almost every scene she appears in. Lara has the best one liners and makes them all hit pay dirt. Tanya Anderson is superb as the Ceil who has ice water in her veins. She wants to commit her youngest sister and already stole Catherine's boyfriend. Tanya plays this bitch on wheels perfectly. Her stern facial expressions are captivating. I first reviewed her as Nurse Ratched in "Cuckoo's Nest here a few years ago. Erin Olsen is compelling as the damaged sister, Anna who had a nervous breakdown. She gives this role a lot of depth, delivering a nuanced performance. I have been reviewing Erin and Lara since they were much younger and both have grown into topnotch mature actresses who can tackle any role, be it comic or dramatic.
Fleur and Bob arrive to give Anna a get well present but Fleur has ulterior motives in culling Ceil's favor. Susan and Joe are hilarious adding levity to the proceedings. Then after he is broadsided by Anna, he exposes a secret about his wife. Also hilarious is Marcia Layden as the pushy neighbor pushing cosmetics on the sisters. The character mangles the English language with many malapropisms especially funny is when she says "Two Lebanons were fighting in the alley last night." The smart ass delivery boy is well played by Peyton Buteau who mouths off to Catherine as he delivers hamburger to her. Matt Collyer plays him at alternating performances. So for a sensational evening of theatre at its best, be sure to catch "And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little". The marvelous set is by Trevor Elliot while the gorgeous costumes are by Ron Cesario.