BWW Review: SHE WOULD IF SHE COULD at AS220 Black Box
Treat yourself to She Would if She Could, Head Trick Theatre's delicious production of Sir George Etherege's bawdy comedy of manners. The play finishes its run this weekend at AS220. The witty story follows the flirtations of city sophisticates and visiting country gentry on the loose in 1600s London as they seek to find illicit romance and seek to avoid scandal and ruin. In the intimate setting of AS220's Black Box Theatre, director Rebecca Maxfield's strong production turns the audience into innocent bystanders as the black walls fall away and we are transported to the bedrooms, drawing rooms, gardens and public houses of Restoration-era England.
Kelly McCabe shines as a perfectly over-the-top Lady Cockwood. Her performance-worthy of any PBS production-finds its ideal match in Ian Hudgins as Ned Courtall. As the witty rake at the center of all intrigues, Courtall is a scheming, skirt-chasing dandy and Hudgins brings him to life with an instantly likable appeal. McCabe and Hudgins both easily breeze through the 17th century language as if it were their native tongue.
Lady Cockwood's escapades are facilitated by Mrs. Sentry, her long-suffering, but wily, maid played to full comic effect by Amy Thompson.
Andrew Conley, as the ultimate bad-influence uncle, Sir Joslin Jolly, peppers Jolly's drunken rambles with beautiful song-thanks to his rich singing voice. Also gracing the show with a beautiful song is Ashley Moore, effervescent as Gatty, one of a trouble-seeking pair of sisters. She is counterbalanced by Ariana, performed by Meg Taylor-Roth, who expertly executes a series of sour facial expressions instantly recognizable to the parents of any teen who feels she has too much supervision.
Katrina Rossi plays Frank Freeman, Courtall's wingman with a smarmy charm. Stevie Smith portrays Lady Cockwood's awful and allegedly impotent husband, Sir Oliver Cockwood, with a big booming presence.
Rounding out the show are ensemble members-and quick-change artists--Marissa Dufault and Michael Shallcross, who handily play a variety of characters and add the perfectly judgmental sneer now and then.
Get out and enjoy this production while you can. The last two performances are tonight and tomorrow: Saturday, April 1 at 7:00pm; and Sunday, April 2 at 2:00pm. For more information, visit www.headtricktheatre.org.
Photo Credit: Rebecca Maxfield