Review Roundup: TIME FLIES AND OTHER COMEDIES at Barrington Stage Company
Barrington Stage Company (BSC), the award-winning theatre in the Berkshires under the leadership of Artistic Director Julianne Boyd, continues its 25th Anniversary season with Time Flies and Other Comedies by David Ives (Venus in Fur) with performances from July 5 through July 27 at the St. Germain Stage. Check out photos of the production below!
The evening of comedies include Time Flies, Enigma Variations, Variations on the Death of Trotsky, Life Signs, The Philadelphia and The Mystery of Twicknam Vicarage.
Directed by Tracy Brigden (Atlantic Theater Company's Human Error), Time Flies and Other Comedies will feature Cary Donaldson (BSC's See How They Run), Carson Elrod (BSC's Taking Steps), BSC Associate Artist Jeff McCarthy (BSC's Kunstler), Ruth Pferdehirt (Elf National Tour) and BSC Associate Artist Debra Jo Rupp (BSC's The Cake).
Let's see what the critics have to say!
Marc Savitt, BroadwayWorld: BSC veterans Carson Elrod, Jeff McCarthy, and Debra Jo Rupp, all of whom are well known to area theatre goers, are joined by Cary Donaldson and Ruth Pferdehirt. The ensemble is well balanced and show themselves to be exceptional actors. Each, assuming multiple characters in rapid succession over the course of the 2-hour production. Not every line lands solidly, but the skilled cast under the direction of Tracy Brigden provides an evening of entertainment that is fast-paced, frivolous, and lots of fun.
Jeffery Borak, The Berkshire Eagle: Even when Ives stumbles - which he does in "The Enigma Variations," which wears out its welcome fast and early - these players don't. Individually and together, under Tracy Brigden's sly, savvy direction, they sail through Ives' material on currents of antic abandon, leaving indelible images - McCarthy in a nurse's uniform; Rupp and Donaldson's entrance at the very opening; Elrod with an ax in his head, among others - in their wake. They seem to be having the time of their lives. You will too.
Barbara Waldinger, Berkshire on Stage: The plays have been selected from three of Ives' compilations: All in the Timing, Lives of the Saints, and Time Flies and Other Short Plays. There were a couple of dozen plays to choose from but the basis for these six selections is unclear. Two of the plays could have been replaced by stronger one-acts from the collections. The Mystery at Twicknam Vicarage, as the title suggests, is a parody of Agatha Christie murder mysteries, replete with a dead body at a formal dinner party, a Scotland yard inspector, multiple suspects. . . but the comedy goes off the rails with suggestions of copulation between the victim and various pieces of furniture and rugs. Enigma Variations is a real challenge for the actors, involving different combinations of doppelgangers, requiring each of four performers to mime the speech and gestures of his/her double. But aside from actorly acrobatics, the skit gets tired fairly quickly.
Dan Dwyer, The Berkshire Edge: Comic versatility is uniform throughout the cast. The most familiar to Berkshire audiences are BSC veterans Debra Jo Rupp and Jeff McCarthy. Rupp is as good at being a mayfly as she is as Trotsky's wife, but I don't know how she keeps a straight face playing dead with the nonsense going on around her in "Life Signs." McCarthy in nurse drag in "Enigma Variations"-a 1950s, all-white uniform of shoes, sheer stockings, dress and starched cap accented with Barbara Bush-style pearl necklace-gets laughs even before he gets to his lines. Cary Donaldson and Carson Elrod, both back to BSC, are excellent as double docs in "Enigma Variations." Ruth Pferdehirt, a BSC newcomer, is fabulous at it all: doppelgänger lead, flummoxed daughter-in-law, dumb-as-dirt femme-fatale and gum-snapping waitress.
J. Peter Bergman, The Berkshire Edge: Director Tracy Brigden has done a remarkable job with the six plays and five actors, aided by her designers. The comedy timing is an object lesson in precision and that is the combination of a director's eye and the actors' ears. In an awkward time politically and with so much remarkable drama being performed on local stages, it is a tribute to this company that they can allow us a few hours in which to discover how enriching laughter can be.