Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Crimes of The Heart"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2002 by Robert Guenthner

"Annie Gest Your Gun"

Reviewed by Robert Guenthner AKA oldgrump


By Beth Henley
Directed by Al Morin
scenic design - Dan Sheehan
Lighting design - Doug Gordan
set decoration/ dressing - Rosemary Mitchell
Amy Barry - Lenny Magrath
Cheryl Caruolo - Chick Boyle
Peter Brown - Doc Porter
Lynn Atkins Latham - Meg Magrath
Karen Lehan - Babe Botrelle
Marc Harpin - Barnette Lloyd
also not seen but mentioned. grandfather, mother, father, and husband of Babe

I am going to start by telling you everything I found bad about this production. " 0 ." NOTHING. The acting, directing, costumes, set and lighting were as perfect as can be found at the local, or any other level.

The story takes place in Mississippi, 1974. The kitchen and porch is the setting for the play. Two days in the lives of three sisters

Lenny is the oldest sister. A dowdy, self repressed, young, old maid. she is crammed with self doubt and shame. Her shame is a medical problem that precludes the bearing of children. She is jealous of Meg, her sister, a promiscuous, self centered beautiful honey blonde. [ I do mean beautiful] Meg left town several years ago to pursue a singing career that never got off the ground, now has returned.

Babe is the youngest. She married a wealthy lawyer, politician who was abusive to her. She shot him in the stomach, then made and drank two glasses of lemonade before summoning help. Her husband had discovered her having an affair.

Chick is a loud overbearing cousin, who tries her best to dominate the household. The pantyhose scene in the beginning is hilarious.

Barnette a young lawyer, hired to defend Babe, has a crush on Babe, and a deep desire to ruin her husband for a past offense to his father.

Doc is the local doctor who had a steamy romance with Meg a few years back. He also moved away, but returned to take up a practice with his wife and children.

The story has a father that deserted the family. A mother who hung herself in the basement. An interracial romance with an under age youth. It contains jealousy, mental illness and anger. Mix in love and humor and you have a true soap opera.

The set was magnificent a working kitchen all the way down to running water and a coffee maker that in fact made coffee. A small porch was attached to the kitchen. Leaves and a small branch were on the floor of the porch. Ivy grew on the railing and a vine climbed on a trellis. No detail was left out, even a small wind chime was there.

Since the actors used an aisle and the floor in front of the stage, lighting was critical. It was superbly accomplished. The costumes of the girls ranged from a dowdy sweater and skirt for Lenny. A mini skirt and boots for Meg. A pink lacey summery dress for Babe, and later a frilly night gown. All of the clothing made the characters more believable.

Al Morin's direction was about as good as can be. The play flowed along without a hitch. Al had an extremely talented group to work with, and he molded them into a fine running machine. It has been a long time since this old body could sit through a drama and be as thoroughly engrossed as I was. I have seen a few fine professional dramas in Boston over the past couple of years. Death of a Salesman and The Belle of Amherst at the Shubert and Wit at the Wilbur. Wonderful as they were, the play I saw last night ranks right up there with them. If you e joy great acting, and all that goes with it don't miss this play.

"Crimes of The Heart" (8 - 23 February)
1 (508)668-8446

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide