BWW Reviews: BETH at Daydream Theatre Company - Interesting & Accessible

BWW-REVIEWS-BETH-at-Daydream-Theatre-Company-20010101

Shakespeare's Macbeth in less than 2 hours, with intermission? Yup.  In plain English?  That's right. We'll still get to hear "Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble", won't we? Yes, you will.

Playwright Michael Roderick takes the themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth and rather elegantly smushes them into a what could be a two part episode of Law and Order.  Instead of "ripped from the headlines", Beth is freely adapted from The Bard of Avon.

Beth (Elyssa Baldassari) and her wife Leah (Jami Tennille) are social climbers in the world of an exclusive, urban, prep school. They have decided that instead of waiting for tenured faculty and administrators to retire, they will clear the path to advancement by killing the Headmaster (Elliott LaFaiver).  If Miss Jean Brodie had a bit more ambition, she might have done the same.

The same women/witches (Sonya Joyner, Lauren Ustaszewski, Andrea Wilmot) who predict that Beth will soon be the headmistress, also predict that her co-worker's Rose's (Julian Trilling) daughter, Felicia (Daniela Zib), will also be headmistress some day.  Eager to hang on to their newly-acquired power and status, with support from what may be the devil himself (John Joseph Gomes), Beth and Leah plot to kill both Rose and Felicia.  Old fashioned police work by Detective Duffy (Mary Paolino), with no help from her clueless partner Lenny (Ed Higgins), leads the downfall of the deranged duo.

Director Lenny Schwartz pulls some good performances from what is an enormous cast for any production.  With 18 community-theater actors in one play, you expect a wide range of performances; that is part of the charm. There is no doubt that Lauren Ustaszewski has the indefinable "it" that can make a performance compelling. Jami Tennille has an enviable stage debut in her role as the villainous Leah. Ryan Hanley nearly steals the show with his monologue as the doorman.  Mary Paolino is intriguing as Detective Duffy.

Michael Roderick's Beth, directed by Lenny Schwartz, is interesting, fast-paced, and completely accessible to present day audiences.
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Beth runs Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights at 8 PM through November 19th at the Bell Street Chapel in Providence, RI. General Admission are $10; $5 for students and seniors and can be purchased online at www.smarttix.com, or at the door.

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