Theatre Mirror Reviews -"Sabrina Fair"

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note: entire contents copyright 2012 by Tony Annicone

"Sabrina Fair"

A Review by Tony Annicone

The current show at 2nd Story Theatre is "Sabrina Fair", a romantic comedy by Samuel A. Taylor. It ran on Broadway for a total of 318 performances, opening on November 11, 1953. Sabrina Fairchild is the daughter of a chauffeur to the wealthy Larrabee family, who live in a mansion on the North Shore of Long Island. Returning from a stay in Paris after working as a private secretary to the "Assistant Economic Commissioner Office of Special Representative for Europe Economic Cooperation Administration", she presents herself as a young woman of beauty, charm, incredible sophistication and zest for living, so different from the domestic's daughter the family had largely ignored. She proclaims her desire "to do everything and see everything, sense everything; to know that life is an enormous experience and must be used. To be in the world, and of the world, and never stand aside and watch." Although she once had a crush on David Larrabee, the young playboy of the family, and returns to America with a wealthy French suitor in tow, she finds herself drawn to Linus Larrabee whose intelligence, lack of sentimentality, and knowledge of the world stimulates her. It seems that the daughter of the hired help no matter how educated and sophisticated she is, should marry the employer's son. But will anything change their mind? Director Ed Shea casts the show beautifully, eliciting topnotch performances from them.

Ed's keen insight and attention to detail can be seen in his direction. He infuses his cast with high energy and pacing. Trevor Eliet designed a fantastic set consisting of an exterior of a Long Island mansion. (He and Erin Sheehan who played the leading role in "Rebecca" are getting married on this set.) The gorgeous 1950's costumes are by Ron Cesario. Leading the cast of characters is Gabby Sherba as Sabrina. She is brilliant in this role. Gabby captures the charm and allure of Sabrina, interacting wonderfully with her castmates. She is total joy to watch onstage. Her father is well played by Vince Petronio. He delivers a well layered portrayal. Playing the Larrabee brothers are Alex Duckworth as Linus and Jeff Church as David. They are terrific in their roles. Alex has a marvelous argument scene with his father in the second act. Jeff is a hoot as the brother who captures the heart of the ladies and wants to marry them on the spot. Another feather in their caps.

Their father is wonderfully played by Bob Colonna who delivers the goods as the disapproving, doting wealthy scion. He is very funny in this role but also has a marvelous argument scene with Alex. Paula Faber plays their Aunt Julia. She has the funniest lines in the show and makes them all hit paydirt. Isabel O'Donnell is the bitchy, snob mother, Maude. Ed Shea works his magic on this show making it relevant for current day audiences. So for a terrific look at this sparkling show from the past, be sure to catch "Sabrina Fair" at 2nd Story Theatre.

"Sabrina Fair" (10 August - 2 September)
@ 28 Market Street, WARREN RI

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide