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The Wisdom of Eve
a Comedy/Drama
CATEGORY : COMEDY DRAMA
by Mary Orr

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4910

SHOWING : June 09, 2016 - June 26, 2016

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION

Adapted from the story by Mary Orr, on which the film “All About Eve” and the hit musical “Applause” were based. An engrossing and revealing “inside” story of life in New York’s theatre world, told in terms of an unscrupulous ingenue’s rise to Broadway stardom.

When we first meet Eve Harrington, she is standing in the rain by the stage door of the theatre in which the renowned Margo Crane is starring in her latest long-run hit.

Waiting for a glimpse of her professed idol she accosts Karen Roberts, Margo’s good friend and the wife of the playwright, Lloyd Roberts, and inveigles an invitation to meet the great actress herself. The meeting leads to unexpected opportunity as Margo, struck with Eve’s “sincerity,” takes her on as a personal secretary.

Before long Eve has done such a fine job of straightening out the clutter of Margo’s personal affairs that Margo, while she had always jealously resisted the engagement of an understudy for her own role, allows Eve to have the assignment.

Then Eve begins to move ahead in earnest, her true character emerging as she lies, cheats and blackmails her way to Broadway stardom — and then a Hollywood career — leaving the wreckage of her friends’ trust behind her.

As the play ends there are rumors that Eve has found a new “friend,” this time a movie tycoon, so it appears that perhaps we have not, for the moment, heard all there is to tell about Eve.


CAST & CREW LIST
Director Mercury
Vera Franklin Shelby Folks
Karen Roberts Erin Greenway
Leila Jan Grimshaw
Lloyd Roberts Davin Allen Grindstaff
Margo Crane Eileen Koteles
Eve Harrington Bekah Medford
Bert Hinkle Mercury
Harvey Marshall Benjamin Mitchell
"Tally-Ho" Thompson Scott F. Rousseau
Clement Howell Calvin Wickham
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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All a Bout, Eve
by playgoer
Monday, June 13, 2016
4.0
"The Wisdom of Eve" is not a theatrical version of the movie "All About Eve," although they do tell the same story. Famous lines from the movie are missing; names are changed; the cast size is limited. Still, the overall production is enjoyable.

The physical production reflects some of the stage practices of the time period of the play (the early 1950s). Drops fly down for stage alley, picnic, and country home exterior scenes. Mercury’s set design pairs these fairly crudely painted drops with fixed sets upstage for Margo’s dressing room (stage right) and the living room of Lloyd and Karen (stage left), each of which contains windows allowing views of the New York skyline on a backing flat that towers above the room walls. The play starts and ends, though, with a blank stage. (Hint: arrive before starting time, since there is stagehand business involving the orchestra pit at five minutes before start, and other business before that.)

Joel Coady’s light design pools illumination appropriately for scenes and narration monologues that use only portions of the stage. Scott Rousseau’s costume design helps set the time period, as does Mercury’s sound design, which uses jazzy music to cover scene changes. There is some background music playing in a couple of early scenes that borders on being distracting, however.

The story, of course, revolves around established star Margo (Eileen Koteles) and the ambitious starlet, Eve Harrington (Bekah Medford), who weasels her way into Margo’s life and career. The two actresses filling these roles do splendid work. They are supported ably by Davin Allen Grindstaff and Erin Greenway, playing a playwright and his wife who are in Margo’s inner ring. The other roles are fairly minor, and are filled acceptably by a variety of new and established area actors.

Mercury’s direction uses blocking that occasionally appears a bit unrealistic, with the main actor in living room scenes often prowling face-front downstage, back to the other people in the room. That may be another homage to 1950s production style, but it appears a bit jarring. Of course, the numerous bits of spotlighted narration also stick out as interrupting the dramatic flow of the story.

This is not as handsome and polished a production as Gypsy Theatre Company has been known to present in the past, but it tells an engaging story that holds interest throughout. A classic like the movie "All About Eve" it may not be, but the interactions of Margo and Eve work beautifully, and Ms. Koteles in particular nails her role. The play is longish, at about 2.5 hours, but moves along briskly and entertains throughout. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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