BWW Reviews: Sally Edmundson Channels A Fashionable Legend in FULL GALLOP
FULL GALLOP offers a peek into the life of a cultural icon, and yet the effect is like hanging out with an eccentric aunt. Walking into the Arena Theater is like being welcomed into Diana Vreeland's living room. It is detailed, rich, and sophisticated, not unlike Sally Edmundson's portrayal of the infamous editor and columnist for Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Edmundson lives in the role like a perfectly-cut pair of cigarette pants. Her voice is appropriately smoky and dour, her mannerisms pitch-perfect, and her connection with the audience is warm and rambling. This is a one-woman show, playing out like an extended monologue, and Edmundson never wavers.
Mark Hampton and Mary Louise Wilson have written a script that is by turns funny, warm, and introspective. Diana Vreeland is a goldmine for any playwright; she was bold, sassy, tender, and intuitive. There are many quotes written into the dialogue that are sharp and intelligent, and Edmundson delivers them like the pro she is. A saucy quote by Joan Crawford garners big laughs. FULL GALLOP almost feels like a retrospective of French and American society and culture, and Vreeland is the perfect icon to stand as narrator. The commentary about color and specifications in the use of the color red is funny and deliciously analytical.
The set is in the style of theatre-in-the-round, which adds to the coziness of the play, but the lack of sound support was frustrating at times. When Edmundson turns away from a section of the audience some of the volume is lost, and some lines are unheard. A lavalier or a couple of hanging microphones would've helped a lot.
Jodi Bobvrosky's set is thorough and satisfying, with careful attention to detail and color. The set design extends a little into the audience, which creates an appealing sense of intimacy.
Stages Repertory Theatre is known for producing exciting contemporary theatre. FULL GALLOP is a worthy addition to their collection of productions.
To see FULL GALLOP go to stagestheatre.com.