Theatre Mirror Reviews-"Hay Fever"

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entire contents copyright 2014 by Tony Annicone

"Hay Fever"

A Review by Tony Annicone

2nd Story Theatre's second summer show is Noel Coward's "Hay Fever". He based this show on the real life of Laurette Taylor and her family. She played Amanda in "The Glass Menagerie" on Broadway. This classic comedy introduces the audience to the uber-bohemian Bliss family, the father, a famous writer, the mother, a renowned actress, and two equally eccentric children. Each one invites a friend to their summer home without letting the others know. Then this is where the hosts foist each of their guest's on a different family member with alarmingly delightful results. The show is a mixture of high farce and a comedy of manners and shows how the self-centered behavior of the hosts drives their guests crazy while they humiliate and confuse them. Director Ed Shea picks the best 9 performers to fill these wild and madcap roles.

The comic moments grow funnier as the show progresses as the audience witnesses how this family treats and mistreats their guests. Ed gives his cast some clever comic bits to perform especially clever is the charades sequence when mother and two children engage their guests with a surprising ending of the second act. The disgruntled guests compare notes in the latter act with the same feelings shared among them. Playing the theatrical mother, Judith is Joanne Fayan. She is a gorgeous red head and is superb in this role. She runs the gamut of emotions while running rough shod over not only her family but their guests as well. Joanne is hilarious in the charades scene and when she puts the moves on the boxer and the diplomat is also very funny. Her interactions with the whole cast is splendid and the bickering of the Bliss family is sublime. Her dancing segment for the diplomat is fabulous and she wins thunderous applause for it. John Michael Richardson is also hilarious as the foppish husband. His one liners will leave you laughing merrily all night long. Also funny is when he reads from his book and the family keeps interrupting and arguing with him. His flirtation with Myron is another laugh out loud moment.

  Patrick Saunders shines as the son who is a spoiled brat artist. His leaping into Myron's arms and his engagement announcement to another guest is wonderfully done. Rachel Nadeau is the gauche sister who tries to be sophisticated. She has several funny moments especially comic is the bickering scene with her brother, her being seduced by Sandy in the library and the game seq. The guests are wonderfully played by topnotch performers, too. The young boxer, Sandy Tyrell whom Judith takes a shine to is played excellently by Brendan Macera who is tall, blond and handsome. He handles this comic role with ease. Some of his funniest moments are when Judith is admiring him, when he doesn't understand the adverb game and when Sorel puts the moves on him in the library. Myron is excellently played by David Sackal. He delivers a comic portrayal especially in a flirtation scene that will leave you in stitches.The humiliated flapper is well played by Amy Thompson  as is the stiff and stuffy diplomat, Richard Greatham who is easily embarrassed is well played by Nicholas Thibeault. Rounding out the cast as Clara the maid is Susan Bowen Powers. The gorgeous multitude of 1920's costumes are by Ron Cesario and the equally gorgeous set with Persian rugs is by Karl Pelletier. So for a rousing night of hilarity and a trip back to the roaring 20's, be sure to catch "Hay Fever" at 2nd Story Theatre.

"Hay Fever" (18 July - 31 August)
@ 28 Market Street, WARREN RI
1(401)247 4200

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide