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The Curious Savage
a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by John Patrick

COMPANY : Main Street Theatre Tucker [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Tucker Recreation Center
ID# 5256

SHOWING : May 11, 2018 - May 20, 2018

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

The setting: The Cloisters, a comfortable sanatorium for the troubled. In John Patrick’s play, The Curious Savage, we meet the lovable residents there. Following the death of Mrs. Savage’s husband, her stepchildren have committed her in order to control the family fortune. Where is the money?


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Carrie McGuffin
Miss Willie Samantha Bain
Mrs. Paddy Celeste Campbell
John Thomas Holden Chambers
Fairy May Chelsea Dinegan Davis
Jeffrey Evan Greene
Mrs. Ethel Savage Dawn Hines
Titus Jeff LeCraw
Samuel John Lukens
Hannibal Jonn McDaniel
Dr. Emmett Thaddeus Nifong
Florence Amanda Vick
Lily Belle Ellen Wynn
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REVIEWS

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One Flew into the Cuckoo’s Nest
by playgoer
Monday, May 21, 2018
3.0
For "The Curious Savage," Main Street Theatre in Tucker has filled the stage with enough items to give an effect just this side of being cluttered. Randy Davison has constructed a set with doors on either side and a barred window upstage, with a view of a walled garden painted by Aaron Witmoyer. Christina Crim has dressed the set with over 30 paintings and prints on the walls, and Lisa Temples has provided props that add to the lived-in look of The Cloisters, to which wealthy Ethel P. Savage is being committed by her stepchildren.

The residents of The Cloisters are a collection of eccentric characters whose skewed perspectives on reality are much more endearing than the money-obsessed rantings of the stepchildren. The plot pits the stepchildren against Ethel and her new friends in a fight for the family fortune. There’s plenty of comedy in the behaviors of all involved, but plenty of heart too. The show ends with a charming tableau of the residents living the lives of which they’ve dreamed.

Carrie McGuffin has directed the show so that all the actors have clearly defined characters. The residents of The Cloisters all come off extremely well. Fairy May (Chelsea Dinegan Davis) is an insecure gadabout that Ms. Davis invests with tons of energy and on-the-sleeve emotions that bring a rueful smile to one’s face. Florence (Amanda Vick) seems sweet and normal, and Ms. Vick plays up these qualities in an endearing performance. Jeffrey (Evan Greene) displays a military bearing in Mr. Greene’s portrayal, and Hannibal (Jonn McDaniel) comes across as a functioning autistic man in Mr. McDaniel’s performance. The mostly silent Mrs. Paddy (Celeste Campbell) is a troubled, angry soul, but Ms. Campbell uses posture and expression to limn an individual whose heart merely needs to be opened up by kindness.

The staff at The Cloisters also come off well. Thaddeus Nifong invests Dr. Emmett with equal amounts of logic and compassion, letting us know that The Cloisters is a safe hideaway for its residents. Samantha Bain, as Miss Wilhelmina, plays every moment with sweet concern, letting the late revelation of her status at The Cloister come as a heartwarming surprise. Her 1940’s hairstyle also grounds the action in the post-WWII era.

Sharon Bower’s costumes also suggest the time period, with a nice variety of outfits from scene to scene. One standout is a pinned-together frock in which the pins stand out beautifully once the pins have been mentioned in the script. Lights (Walter Stark) and sound (Ginny Mauldin) are excellent. The only technical deficiency is some blocking issues when the stage is fully populated; a standing character in the foreground can obscure speaking characters behind him or her, especially for those seated on the edges of the audience. Audience sightlines are not good for those in rows after the first when tall audience members are in the row immediately in front.

Dawn Hines plays Ethel P. Savage, and her fine stage presence and excellent command of her lines keeps the show on track throughout. Whenever her domineering stepson Titus (Jeff LeCraw) appears, though, pacing seems to slow appreciably. A mostly silent second stepson (played by John Lukens) and a much-married stepdaughter (Ellen Clay) pipe up from time to time, but Titus drives the dialogue of the stepchildren’s scenes, which appear less rehearsed than the rest of the action. The stepchildren seem somewhat one-dimensional in comparison to the others (both in the script and on the stage).

This longish three-act play maintains interest throughout and does full justice to John Patrick’s script. This may not be edgy theatrical fare, but it’s a fine choice for community theatre, providing juicy acting opportunities for all concerned. Carrie McGuffin and the technical crew have created a wonderful environment in which the actors can display their thespian gifts for appreciative audiences in Tucker. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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