BWW Reviews: Mildred's Umbrella Presents a Deep and Thoughtful Premiere of POLLYWOG

BWW Reviews: Mildred's Umbrella Presents a Deep and Thoughtful Premiere of POLLYWOG
James Belcher, Autumn Clack, and Jason Duga

POLLYWOG is a deep and profound journey into the psyche of a woman named Polly. This is a play about memory, family dynamics, and the marriage between the physical body and the mind. Playwright Keian McKee delves deeply into these issues with nuance and sensitivity in her first full-length work. While there are times when the script is a little confusing, POLLYWOG is generally an admirable construction with many absorbing elements.

Courtney Lomelo (Polly) is riveting in the lead role, switching back and forth between playing a child and a grown woman. Her portrayal of Polly as a child is endearing and honest. Lomelo slips into the adult role with ease and depth. Jason Duga (Johnny) and Autumn Clack (Ester) are agile and entertaining as the celebrity swimmers, adding humor and brightness to the production. The irritable and possessive Mort is played by James Belcher, a gifted actor who inhabits his role with complete commitment. Celeste Roberts shines as Jule, Polly's mother. Roberts' performance is multi-layered and rich, portraying a woman who is impassioned by athleticism but is later struck down with acute disability.

All the actors work together in a seamless, connected way that pays tribute to director Matt Huff. The pacing of the play is downright perfect, whether it's a scene with overlapping lines and situtations, or a quieter scene with a clear focus.

BWW Reviews: Mildred's Umbrella Presents a Deep and Thoughtful Premiere of POLLYWOG
Courtney Lomelo as Polly

Jodi Bobrovski's set design is moody and poetic. The glass panels hanging from the ceiling, the painted seashell floor, and the lit glass cubes all evoke a watery, reflective beauty. Bobrovska's design forms a perfect union with the play, both thematically and psychologically.

Greg Starbird (Lighting Design) and Andy McWilliams (Sound Design) provide stimulating effects that add interesting and ethereal verve to the production.

POLLYWOG is no cream puff. This is in-depth theatre with an intellectual touch. Mildred's Umbrella is known to produce innovative and unique plays, and McKee's Pollywog fits the bill nicely.

POLLYWOG runs from July 31-August 16.

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Photo Credit: Gentle Bear Photography

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Jenny Taylor Moodie Jenny Taylor Moodie has been acting and singing in theatre productions for over

20 years. She is relatively new to Houston and loves the people here. Her writing has

appeared in such publications as The Apeiron Review and Eber & Wein Poetry. Jenny

writes children’s books and poetry and is currently working on a Young Adult novel. She

teaches in the Pearland School District and teaches voice to children


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