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Lionheart Theatre Company1
Average Rating Given : 5.00000
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REVIEWS

Anatomy of Gray, by Jim Leonard Jr.
The Play Fits the Theater Fits the Play
Sunday, September 3, 2006
5.0
Caveat: I have a binding personal relationship with a member of the cast, and have worked in the past with this theatre company, so it's fair to assume that I'm not going to trash any cast members in this review. That having been said, my review:

Lionheart Theatre Company christens the new Norcross Community and Cultural Arts Center with their innovative production of "Anatomy of Gray." And the truism..."Everything old is new again" is as fresh and relevant as ever for a play set in the 1880's done in an historic church built in 1875. In a setting built on faith, the audience is treated to the story of Galen Gray, whose crisis of faith is intertwined with the subsequent crises of faith and belief for the small town inhabitants of Gray, Indiana. The intense drama that ensues is mixed with episodes of humor and grace that underscore the complexity of the human condition.

Done in the round, this production draws in the entire audience and there isn't a bad seat in the house. With a minimalist approach to props, the viewer can focus on the characters and their journey from naive contentment to doubt to redemption and understanding.

Bob Smith has captured the angst and self-doubt of Galen Gray, a physician whose fatal flaw has kept him from becoming the healer he wants to be. The good folk of the town of Gray each contribute an important piece to the development and resolution of this tale. Laura Lankford plays Belva, a loving wife who is the first to succumb to a mysterious illness that eventually involves the whole town. Tanya Carroll is spot on in her characterization of Rebekah Muldoon, a grieving widow who's pregnant with the child of her recently deceased husband. Emily Dark plays June, Rebekah's 15-year-old coming-of-age daughter. Michael Carroll captures the essence of Phineas, the town fundamentalist, grand-standing preacher whose pants-around-the-ankles scene will leave you in stitches.

Then there is Allen Stone as Crutch Collins, Belva's good hearted, hard working husband who likes to take a nip of corn-squeezin's now and again. Pam Fox plays Maggie, who runs the local eatery and is country as the day is long. Homer is a good ole boy who has lived his whole life in Gray and has eyes for June Muldoon. Jesse Green makes him live. Last but not least is Glory Hanna as Tiny, a never-married-but-still-hopeful woman with an interest in Galen Gray and just a touch of the "vapors."

Joanie McElroy, director, has risen to the challenge of pulling these disparate characters together into an eminently entertaining and insightful whole. What a triumph of redemption through loss and love. It's not inappropriate to say..."I laughed; I cried; it became a part of me."


Alan Lankford
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