Theatre Mirror Reviews - "A Coarse Evening"

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note: entire contents copyright 1999 by Larry Stark


"A Coarse Evening"

Mostly by Michael Greene and other conspirators
Directed by John Edward O'Brien

Set and Props Design by Brierly Holbrook
Lighting Design by Rich Archer
Sound Design by Greg Tardiff
Costume Design by Rachel Padula
Stage Manager Andrew Gubisch

"Streuth"

The Inspector.................................Susan Boasi
The Sergeant...............................Jason Lambert
Mr. Oliver D'Arcy....................Brendan Hughes
Mrs. D'Arcy......................................Irene Daly
The Major....................................Weston Walls
The Vicar.................................Lonnie McAdoo
Mrs. James...................................Mara Sidmore
Eliza.................................................Esra Gaffin

"The Cherry Sisters"

Veruka.........................Mary Elizabeth Kearney
Gnasha.............................................Esra Gaffin
Basha................................................Irene Daly
Fotrotski, their brother..............Brendan Hughes
Babushka, an old servant..............Mara Sidmore
Piles, an older servant..................Jason Lambert
Captain Sodov...........................Rodney Raftery
The Stationmaster.....................Lonnie McAdoo
The Schoolmaster.........................Weston Walls

"Il Fornicazione (The Adulterer)"

The Countess Formaggio..............Mara Sidmore
Alfonso, her lover.......................Jason Lambert
The Count, her husband...........Lonnie McAdoo
Maid, her maid.................................Esra Gaffin
Men of The Hunt
Rodney Raftery, Irene Daly, Brendan Hughes, Weston Walls
Conducted by.................................Susan Boasi

"Henry The Tenth (Part Seven)"

Bereaved Citizens
Jason Lambert, Mara Sidmore
Master Clodpony......................Rodney Raftery
Master Hayseed................................Irene Daly
Archbishop of Canterbury........Brendan Hughes
Chorus (as Prologue)....Mary Elizabeth Kearney
Drummer......................................Mara Sidmore
King Henry X............................Lonnie McAdoo
Lord Uxbridge..............................Jason Lambert
Lord Amersham..........................Brendan Hughes
Lord Ongar.......................................Susan Boasi
Herald.............................................Weston Walls
Cuthbert, Earl of Wolverhampton ..Rodney Raftery
Lord Dudley.........................................Irene Daly
Baron Smethwick..............................Susan Boasi
Queen Catherine...........Mary Elizabeth Kearney
Old Meg, nurse...............................Mara Sidmore
Lady Uxbridge....................................Esra Gaffin
Lords And Ladies of The Court
Rodney Raftery, Irene Daly, Weston Walls, Susan Boasi, Mara Sidmore
King's Fool.................................Brendan Hughes
French Messenger..............................Susan Boasi
Army Loyal to The King
Grot...........................................Rodney Raftery
Mud....................................................Irene Daly
Bronchio.........................Mary Elizabeth Kearney
Pizzle..............................................Mara Sidmore
Dronio................................................Esra Gaffin
Army Loyal to Wolverhampton
Norfolk.........................Mary Elizabeth Kearney
Archbishop of York..................Brendan Hughes
Tewkesbury...................................Weston Walls
Evesham........................................Mara Sidmore
Birmingham........................................Esra Gaffin


The last time I did any backstage work, I brought the lights up before the actor had pulled the light-cord. No one noticed --- except of course the furious director. How wonderful to know that everything that goes wrong in the four parody playlets of the Mill 6 Collaborative's "Coarse Evening" was actually supposed to happen. Here ten excellent actors play bad actors, muddling on as best they can through whatever adversities Thespis can throw at them.

In the whodunit "Streuth" there were circular repetitions of lines, missed light-cues, and wildly nervous eyeballs. The Inspector here (Susan Boasi) popped up later as conductor of an absent orchestra accompanying a one-act opera "Il Fornicazione"; and here the housekeeper from "Streuth" (Mara Sidmore) also reappeared as The Countess Formaggio, singing a melismatic flurry of right notes in clearly wrong sequences.

This becomes a game throughout the evening. Irene Daly is Basha, one of the Chekhovian "Cherry Sisters" and reappears as (among several others) the comic bumpkin Master Hayseed in "Henry the Tenth (Part Seven)". The Count from the opera (Lonnie McAdoo) becomes Henry X. The Chekhovian Schoolmaster (Weston Walls) plays a herald in the Shaxpy parody beaten to a pulp successively by everyone to whom he delivers a message. (Walls' fight choreography is fast, intricate, and convincingly brutal.) Rodney Raftery one minute is Second Bumpkin Master Clodpony then the evil pretender to Henry's throne Cuthbert, Earl of Wolverhampton --- one of three conniving brothers, each more misshapen than any Richard III! Esra Gaffin sings the opera's noisy maid after she's Gnasha and before she's Lady Uxbridge. Brother Footrotski and Lord Amersham and the King's Fool are all Brendan Hughes, while Alfonso the singing lover, Lord Uxbridge, and The Sergeant are all Jason Lambert, whose bout with a faulty samovar as Piles an old servant defies explanation to anyone who hasn't seen it. There's a funeral procession after the body of Henry IX which the ten-member cast stretches to about twenty-five with quick costume-changes.

Did I leave anyone out? Of course I did! Cherry Sister Veruka, Lord Norfolk, Queen Catherine and who knows how many soldiers on both sides of the wars of flowers: all of them Mary Elizabeth Kearney, and every one of them obviously had a ball.

The best thing about the evening is a breakneck pace, dictated by Director John Edward O'Brien, at which so much happens with such split-second timing there's too much for one pair of eyeballs to take in. Brierly Holbrook designed professionally amateur sets and props, Stage Manager Andrew Gubisch and Producer Michael Hoch moved them with studied ineptness, Rachel Padula ransacked several attics for half a dozen costumes per actor, and Rich Archer got every single wrong light-cue dead-solid perfect.

Well roared all!

Love,
===Anon.


"A Coarse Evening" (till 30 January)
MILL 6 COLLABORATIVE
Beau Jest Moving Theatre, 791 Tremont Street, BOSTON
1(617)623-0861

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