BWW Reviews: THE FATAL WEAKNESS May Be Found In The Script
Taking in a performance of George Kelly's new comedy was a frequent occurrence for theatregoers during the 1920s and 30s, but his 10 Broadway plays (including the Pulitzer-winner, Craig's Wife) and one musical revue have pretty much faded from the modern repertory.
Last year the Mint Theater Company, specialists in revisiting the works of once-popular playwrights, mounted his delightful 1931 excursion into bohemian Greenwich Village, Philip Goes Forth They follow up now with Kelly's swan song, his 1946 drawing room comedy/drama of infidelity, The Fatal Weakness.
That title flaw is the hopeless romanticism of Mrs. Ollie Espenshade (graceful and thoughtful Kristin Griffith), a woman of comfortable means who loves crashing wedding ceremonies for fun, but who is blissfully unaware that her husband (gruffly masculine Cliff Bemis) has fallen out of love and intends to divorce her and remarry.
The three-actor involves the kind of stock characters familiar to such proceedings - the hearty, wise-cracking maid (Patricia Kilgariff), the gossipy best friend (Cynthia Darlow), the chic, modern-thinking daughter (Victoria Mack) and her cad of a husband (Sean Patrick Hopkins) - and while the dialogue is crisp and smart, and the expected confrontation does come to pass, the extreme reserve with which Ollie deals with her situation dilutes her of interest. There is little to find engaging.
But director Jesse Marchese's fine company plays the high-level banter quite well, and the production lives up to The Mint's excellent standards. Special mention must be made of Vicki R. Davis' striking set, a parlor sporting mirrored walls, and Christian DeAngelis' lighting, which manages not to blind audience members with reflections.