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Robert Charles-Vallance

The Lucky One

May 19, 2017

Director Jesse Marchese has cast the play very strangely. Ari Brand’s Bob is a good deal shorter than his younger brother so that one must continually remind one’s self which is which. As Pamela, Paton Ashbrook also is taller than Bob. Is this a subtle hint that she doesn’t belong with him? Gerald has three friends who are guests in his father’s house. Andrew Fallaize’s Tommy, an idle fellow mad about golf, and his girlfriend Letty, played by Mia Hutchinson-Shaw, seem so much younger than Gerald that it stretches the imagination that they are his close friends. Gerald’s friend Henry Wentworth, a successful barrister played by Michael Frederic, looks so much older that it also seems rather unbelievable that they are bosom buddies. A delightful Cynthia Harris plays wise, compassionate Great Aunt Harriet in such an astute manner that she highlights all the subtext of her lines, the only actor in the production to do so. [more]

A Day by the Sea

August 30, 2016

Now that we have been through all the angry play movements, literate writers like N.C. Hunter and Terence Rattigan are once again ripe for revival. While in his own time, Hunter was criticized for being too much like Chekhov that now seems a plus in the days of sloppy craftsmanship and plays that are really movie scenarios staged in the theater. "A Picture of Autumn" was obviously a post-war British variation on Chekhov’s "The Cherry Orchard," while Waters of the Moon resembles "The Sea Gull." "A Day by the Sea" owes a great deal to Chekhov’s "Uncle Vanya" and includes the same basic cast of characters. [more]

First Daughter Suite

November 4, 2015

Twenty-two years after writing "First Lady Suite," four linked musicals about Eleanor Roosevelt, Bess Truman, Mamie Eisenhower, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy and Lady Bird Johnson, composer-lyricist Michael John LaChuisa has written a follow-up. Entitled "First Daughter Suite," it also contains four mostly sung-through musicals and depicts six of the Presidents’ daughters as well as six of the First Ladies. The individual pieces vary in content, seriousness and musical style: opera, jazz, pop and Broadway. While the material is impressive, the first two musicals are very lightweight while the other two included in the second half of the evening are much more profound. However, what First Lady Suite does best is offer several veteran singing actresses a chance to appear in extremely meaty roles, turning each of their roles into a tour de force. This is the fifth collaboration between LaChuisa and director Kristen Sanderson who directed the original production of "First Lady Suite" which also premiere at the Public Theater. [more]

Fashions for Men

March 16, 2015

Though totally unknown to Americans, Ferenc Molnár’s "Fashions for Men" is another treasure newly unearthed by the reliable Mint Theater. Davis McCallum’s polished and period-perfect production is not only vastly entertaining and enlightening about the human condition, but it should go a long way to making this play more widely known to the theater-going public. While the play is set in a world that is long gone, its contemporary relevance is based on the fact that it dramatizes the human comedy which will always be in fashion. [more]