The current summer show at 2nd Story Theatre is "Rebecca". This show is based on the classic Daphne Du Maurier novel and later turned into a 1940 Oscar-winning film by Alfred Hitchcock. The novel was published in 1938. It was subsequently turned into a play, and from that version, Hitchcock made his first American film. It starred Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, Judith Anderson and George Sanders."Rebecca" is the story of Maxim de Winter, his new wife, "I" and Mrs. Danvers, the controlling and manipulative housekeeper of Maxim's isolated West Country estate of Manderley, where the memory of his first wife, the glamorous and mysterious Rebecca, still casts a shadow. Was Rebecca really well loved by one and all or was it all a facade? Director Mark Peckham picks the perfect performers for these roles, creating a stunning and well crafted show for audiences to savor all night long. It keeps them on the edge of their seats.
Mark's blocking of this show and his keen eye to detail can be readily seen by the audience. The mysterious atmosphere of this piece still enthralls current day playgoers. Mark is aided in his task by Trevor Eliot and Ron Cesario. The gorgeous Victorian set is marvelous to behold with rear film projection of waves, rain, sun set and so on as are the gorgeous 1940's costumes. Erin Sheehan delivers a terrific performance as the second Mrs. de Winter. She gives the naive character a backbone to stand up to her adversaries but at the same time creates an empathy that audience truly enjoys and can relate to. Erin gives a well nuanced performance in this difficult role where she evolves from mouse to lion who roars by the close of the show. Jeff Church is electrifying as Maxim. He always delivers the goods whether it be a comic or dramatic role and this role is no exception. Some of his best moments come when he explodes at the end of Act 1 due to Mrs. Danvers manipulation of his new wife and in the second act when he delivers a dramatic monologue to his new wife. Jeff is a very versatile performer and he enthralls the audience as this dynamic character.
Rae Mancini is mesmerizing as Mrs. Danvers. The chief housekeeper , Mrs. Danvers is a woman who obviously worshiped Rebecca and plans to make the second Mrs. de Winter's life miserable. Rae's portrayal as this harridan is topnotch and she scares the crap out of everyone in the audience with her sinister and malevolent behavior. She is a true dragon lady especially in the second act when it looks like she is going to convince the new Mrs. de Winter to fall down the stairs. Her final scene is splendid and needs to be seen to be believed. Jack Favell, the cad of a cousin is played beautifully by Jonathan Jacobs who oozes with sliminess in this role. The many twists and turns in this well written and crafted show keep everyone on the edge of their seats in anticipation to what will happen next. To say anymore will ruin the show for the audience. Tray Gearing and F. William Oakes portray Max's doting sister and her drink loving husband. They add needed levity to this suspenseful tale as does Alex Duckworth as Frank Crawley, a loyal business associate of Max. So for a fantastic evening of suspense filled acting at its best, be sure to catch "Rebecca" at 2nd Story Theatre. Tell them Tony sent you.