BWW Reviews: CRIMES OF THE HEART at Everyman Theatre - Just Plain Spectacular
Well, Everyman Theatre as done it again. This is the third play of the new season and every play has been extended. CRIMES OF THE HEART gets another week, now running until February 9, 2014.
Thanks to Dramaturg Naomi Greenberg-Slovin's notes in the program, this is a play written by a woman, starring three women, directed by a woman (Susanna Gellert), and where the set designer (Debra Booth), costume designer (LeVonne Lindsay), wig designer (Anne Nesmith) and stage manager ( MAndy Hall) are all women. This does not happen every day. And what a job they do.
Henley won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with this play in 1981. But is it a drama or a comedy because you will laugh and laugh often. I would call it a "dramady" since it has both.
The play takes place in 1974 in the Mississippi home of the Magrath sisters. Only one sister remains in the home and that is Lenny (the amazing Beth Hylton who is almost unrecognizable in her frumpy clothes, glasses, and hairstyle). She's the eldest (age 30) and one may remember seeing her likeness in an old Carol Burnett skit. The play opens sadly. It's Lenny's birthday. She's alone. She lights herself a candle on a glass and sings herself "Happy Birthday" three times and cries. Oh, her favorite horse has died after being struck by lightning. The story revolves around sister Babe (the lovely Dorea Schmidt) who has shot her husband because she didn't like his looks. The third sister is Meg (played by a real Meg - the incomparable Megan Anderson) who has failed in her attempt in the music business in Hollywood, has had a nervous breakdown and comes home to help in the many tragedies. So there you are. So you think YOU have troubles.
The play takes place in the Magrath family kitchen set in turquoise blue. On the stove is a corningware coffee pot. There's Quaker Oats and Wesson Oil on the shelf, an old white refrigerator, a kitchen stool (like my mother used to have), a table with four chairs, a single bed and Janis Joplin music coming from an old dial AM radio.
Making her Everyman Theatre Directorial debut is Susanna Gellert. I'm sure she will be back. And I'll give you one example. Cousin Chick (played by Katy Carkuff) arrives to see Lenny. She then attempts to put on a pair of panty hose and it is hysterical. The audience was in stitches. Great way to open the play after the sad "Happy Birthday". She also has the nerve to bring Lenny a gift of candy that is all "crèmes". How do we know? Meg later takes a small bite of each of them. When she's asked why she did it, she responds ,"I don't like crèmes".
There is a lawyer involved to represent Babe, the handsome Jamie Smithson (a superb Everyman debut) who seems to have a very strong interest in his client. The other male in the cast is Doc (Danny Gavigan) who has a long history with Meg.
The sister s do love lemonade and you'll spot a whole lot of lemons at the Vince bar that are used for the drink "Babe's Lemonade" for saleduring the two intermissions (I wish there was only one).
Do not miss CRIME OF THE HEARTS. Be prepared to laugh a lot and cry a lot. It's just a plain great production.
On Saturday, January 15 at 5 p.m.,Everyman will be presenting a panel discussion "How Women's Voices in Theatre Reflect Our Culture". Tickets are $25. Visit www.everymantheatre.org/worldoftheplay.
There is also a "Girls Night Out" on January 23 at 6:30 p.m. that features a Style Magazine pre-show happy hour party. Visit www.everymantheatre.org/girlsnightout. I wonder why they didn't do this on Super Bowl Sunday?
Post Show Talk Back Discussion with the actors will take place after the Thursday night, January 30 performance.
Next up at the Everyman will be THE DRESSER by Ronald Harwood running Feb. 22 to March 23. It will be
directed by Derek Goldman who is currently directing the Center Stage production of STONES IN HIS POCKETS.
For Everyman tickets, call 410-752-2208.