After almost 80 years, The Man Who Came to Dinner still has lots of life. Over the years is has been a play with many revivals, a musical, a film, and a radio production. That obnoxious man the Stanley’s had to host has only gotten more obnoxious. I’ve dubbed the Patio Playhouse production, running through December 16th, the T.T.O.T.T. production (The Totally Over the Top). And what fun it is!
Virtually all of the principals seemed to be directed by Connie Boyd to have fun with their characters. They did. Patrick McBride gave the irascible Sheridan Whiteside an edge that kept every other character totally on edge. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (Peggy Schneider and Patrick McKim), their odd daughter, Harriet (Marlene Garstang) and her siblings who are bent on fleeing the homestead, Richard and June (Jonathan Rossall and Mae West) make up an increasingly dysfunctional household. After all who could possibly live with that arrogant critic (or any critic) and his flustered nurse, Miss Preen (Carri-Lynn Cameron).
One of the totally normal principals is Whiteside’s secretary, Maggie Cutter, ably portrayed by Karen Spafford. He is attended by bumbling, mush-mouthed Dr. Bradley (David Garstang), recovering from his sprain in spite of the abuse heaped upon the good physician.
An equal to McBride’s Whiteside is April Boatman’s star actress, Lorraine Sheldon. She wore her emotions on her sleeve and everywhere else. Her range ran from insane exuberance to dour depression, definitely an actress’s actress. The parrying of wills between Sheldon and Whiteside is classic. Boatman was delightfully gowned. The true evilness of her character becomes evident when she tries to seduce newspaper editor, Bert Jefferson (Wes Jackson).
Director Boyd’s interpretation of The Man Who Came To Dinner feels right for this dowager of a show. It may be almost 80, but the feel is very much 21st century. The cast, all 19 of them, gave fine performances. A fine behind-the-scenes group including the designers, constructors, and operations personnel backed them up. Stage Manager Kat Perhach deserves special kudos for getting her cast to the right entrance at the right time.
This is another one of those productions that is just fun to see. Enjoy the show.
Peggy Schneider, Carri-Lynn Cameron, Jonathan Rossall, Aisa Winkle, Steve Stetak, Christine Buchanan, Patrick McKim, Karen Spafford, David Garstang, Patrick McBride, Marlene Garstang, Wes Jackson, Stephen A. Rich, Xander Felton, Mitch Hedberg, Luis Hernandez, April Boatman, Mitchell D. Scott, Bob McKeon, Ian Casselberry
Producer/AD/SM/Props Kat Perhach, Lighting Design Kat Perhach & George Daye, Sound Design David Farlow, Elizabeth Rich, Set Builder Richard Brousil, Light/Sound Operator Brian Slohouse, Light/Sound Tech Dave Rossall,
Total Rating: Three Stars
Date Reviewed: November 23, 2007
Dates Weekends thru December 16, 2007
Author: George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart
Director: Connie Boyd
Patio Playhouse – A Community Theatre
201 East Grand
Box Office Phone 760 746-6669