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Spreading It Around
a American Premiere
CATEGORY : COMEDY
by Londos D'Arrigo

COMPANY : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Stage Door Players [WEBSITE]
ID# 3272

SHOWING : January 23, 2009 - February 15, 2009

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

This light-hearted comedy finds Angela Drayton, a wealthy widow living in a retirement community in Florida. When she grows tired of footing the bills and handing out money to her unappreciative children, she and some of the other residents start the S.I.N. (Spending It Now) Foundation, an organization which gives to those really in need. Fearing they will lose their inheritance, her greedy son, and his shopaholic wife show up to try to have her committed for incompetence. Turning the tables, Angela shows them just how competent she is, and then shows them the door.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Robert Egizio
Costume Design Jim Alford
Sound Design Dan Bauman
Wig Design George Deavours
Production/Stage Manager Courtney Loner
Scenic Design Chuck Welcome
Lighting Design John David Williams
Traci Drayton Amanda Cucher
Dr Krapinsky Larry Davis
Martin Wheeler Brink Miller
Angela Drayton Holly Stevenson
Larry Drayton Jacob York
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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Spreading It Thin
by playgoer
Saturday, January 31, 2009
4.0
"Spreading It Around" is a high-quality production of something that is other than a first-class play in its present incarnation. The play's action and moral are particularly mean-spirited and inconsistent, especially upon reflection. Let's hope its concurrent Canadian professional premiere allows the author the opportunity to make some script revisions.

The show plays well enough. It's a two-actor show for most of the first act, as Martin Wheeler (played by Brink Miller) and Angela Drayton (played by Holly Stevenson) set up the situation of the show. Late in the act, Angela's son Larry (played by Jacob York) and Larry's wife Traci (played by Amanda Cucher) show up and give hints of a sex farce before the act break. Act 2 throws those hints to the wind and goes off in a new direction, adding a brief appearance by Larry Davis as Dr. Krapinsky.

Those unfulfilled hints of a sex farce are but one of the elements that make the play seem unfinished. In the face of a script filled with inconsistencies, it becomes the director's unenviable task to try to cover over any implausibilities with the sheer momentum of a unified, compelling cast. Here, director Robert Egizio has only mixed success. Amanda Cucher's New Yawk accent and bearing are terrific fun throughout the show, but why does no one else have a trace of accent or other quality hinting at a shared home location? During Dr. Krapinsky's visit, Angela puts on a "senile" act that is supposed to fool her son and daughter-in-law and NOT fool the doctor, but why is there no obvious interplay between Larry Davis and Holly Stevenson to make it clear to the doctor that Angela's "performance" is just that?

Even the set adds a bit of inconsistency to the show. Make no doubt about it -- Chuck Welcome's scenic design is exquisite. The airy floor plan is nothing less than stunning, allowing views into a kitchen with working refrigerator and microwave and onto a lanai with a beautifully evocative view of green grass and palm trees. Angela Drayton is supposed to be a well-to-do widow with a previously full life, but the place looks like the model home in an upscale subdivision. It doesn't look like HER home. And when the place is first seen by Traci ("Traci with an i," accompanied by a lift of the little finger to signify the "i"), she finds it unappealing, disliking the supposed floral pattern of the wallpaper, when in reality the place is something a social climber like Traci should adore. In act 2, when Traci's recently purchased clothes are spread over the furniture, it doesn't make sense. Traci may be a shopaholic, but she wouldn't scatter her purchases willy-nilly over sofa and chairs.

Given the inconsistency in the writing, it may be inevitable that the actors all pretty much play on one note for the entire evening. Brink Miller is cantankerous, Holly Stevenson is spirited, and Amanda Cucher is braying. The other two men aren't given much to work with and don't find much to mine in their roles. Jacob York in particular is given a sleezeball to play, and doesn't seem to find much nuance in his one-dimensional character. Is that surprising? It may not be a coincidence that you couldn't recognize most of these actors from their program photos...

So with all these negatives, how does the show rate a significantly high numerical rating from me? First, the set is 5.0+++++ as something to see. The actors are all accomplished. The pace is smooth. My lowest rating would go to the play itself, and I don't feel that the rating system here should necessarily penalize a sparkling production for being based on sub-par material. At least the final scene of the show has a nice happy ending with a twist that rings true.

I have to hand it to Stage Door Players for having the guts to stage an untried play. It can be draining for frequent playgoers to have their choices limited by what has proved popular in the past. "Spreading It Around" may not stick around to spread to all the community theatres of the country, but it is something different, and Stage Door Player's mounting of it is professionally produced. Just don't use your mind during or after the play, and you'll have a fine time!

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