BWW Review: THE GLASS MENAGERIE at Fulton Theatre
The Glass Menagerie is Tennessee William's semi-autobiographical memory play that features Tom, a young, southern man, Laura, his awkward, older sister, and Amanda, his overbearing Mamma. It opened this weekend at the Fulton's Tell Studio Theatre.
While this fourth floor, black box space is usually set up creatively and thoughtfully for each production, the seating and stage arrangement for The Glass Menagerie is a dud. Audience seating is arranged in a wonky "L" shape, as were the living room and dining room set pieces. You are constantly craning your neck to follow the action. Since the seats are not raised, it is also difficult to see past the audience members in front of you. I honestly don't think that there was a good seat in the house.
That's a shame, because there was a lot of great stuff happening on stage.
Charis Leas was a powerhouse of energy and spunk as Amanda. She exhibits great love and concern for her adult children. Her character comes across as both chatty and charming. I'd eat salmon loaf with her anytime.
Zach Calhoon plays a fine Tom. He has a restlessness about him. He makes it clear that he is waiting for his opportunity to go out and make it on his own. He is patient with his sister, and (usually) obedient to his mother. He loves his cigarettes and his movies, both of which give him a good excuse to get a break from his less than fulfilling home.
Lexi Rabadi shows both physical and emotional vulnerability as Laura. Life has dealt her a bad hand, and both her mother and brother feel it is time for her to make something of her life. For whatever reason, Rabadi's southern accent was much less prominent than her cast mates. In addition, the actress has a somewhat Mediterranean appearance. These two characteristics, intentional or not, isolate the character even more.
Andrew Kindig rounds out the cast as Jim O'Connor. Jim is introduced in the second act as a co-worker of Tom, and a prospective beau for Laura. Of course, things never go as smoothly as planned, yet Kendig does a good job of making Jim likable and sympathetic.
Fulton's production of The Glass Menagerie is a very good show presented in a mediocre environment. It's like sitting down to lobster in a school cafeteria.
Tickets and more information can be found on the Fulton website. Performances run through March 3rd.