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TheatreCritic [ALL REVIEWERS]
Companies Reviewed#
Kudzu Playhouse1
Cobb Players1
Average Rating Given : 4.50000
Reviews in Last 6 months :

The Foreigner, by Larry Shue
Funny Show - Worth $18 - Period
Friday, February 6, 2004
I have been involved in over 16 shows in the past two years - directed two and performed in the rest - all at a variety of places around Atlanta (24 Hours Project - Horizon/Syncronicity Theatre, Emory Univ., Class Act Theatre, Neighboorhood Playhouse, Cobb Playhouse, etc.) and have never auditioned or performed in a show at Kudzu Playhouse.

My daughter, however, just came off being in their latest production of "A Christmas Carol", so I guess that would give me a somewhat "small" tie to this theatre. Honestly, I would not have gone to this show if my daughter had not wanted to take me there. And I only know who Jeannie Hinds is just in passing.

I saw "The Foreigner" two weeks ago with my daughter, and went into the show with no knowledge of who was in the performance and not knowing what it was about - just that my daughter wanted to go. Even after seeing the performance, I do not know who these people are personally.

So, now that I have gotten all of that out of the way...

I wasn't expecting lavish sets or expensive background music or even Tom Keys. My level of expectation was to see a show (with all adults, for a change) that would somehow entertain me for two hours. And this one did.

I throughly enjoyed the production. I thought the show was very funny in most respects, and have to say I laughed more at the Ellard (Andy Meeks) character than any other character in any other show I have seen on stage. He was hillarious, and his comedic timing was such that he bordered obnoxious but never crossed it - he seem to know where to draw the line. The other characters in the show were truly believable in their respective roles. I recognized one of the characters in the show from "A Christmas Carol" a month before and am truly glad he took someones advice and slowed down his dialog delivery by hopping off the Autobahn. I could understand every word he said this time.

Quality? The diction was clear. The dialog was all delivered in one piece (with no signs of missing lines or cues) and with emotion, where emotion was required. The stage directions were clean, and when anyone was set into motion, they did so with a purpose - not any of this "move just to be moving" stuff. I felt the storyline was good, and again, I was thoroughly entertained for two hours.

I do not care that they had "n" number of weeks to get this show together, nor do I care how long they rehearsed their lines. And I do not care who can or can not be cast in a Kudzu Playhouse production. I only care that I paid $18 to see a show at a theatre I had only visited to see a couple of shows of "A Christmas Carol" before and throughly enjoyed the show.


And I will probably go and see it again.

Steel Magnolias, by
Can We All Just Get Along? Read This...
Saturday, February 1, 2003
Seems to me as if some little itty-bitty theatrical production up in Cobb County is causing a little ruckus on this rarely-used message board. Well, praise the Box Office Messiah cause this little sabre-duel caused me to open up the venetian blinds and go and watch this peep show tonight at the Cobb Playhouse in Marietta.

After re-reading these ridiculously contrary reviews and additional rebuttal commentary wider apart than any all-color or no-color placement on the spectrum, I didn't know what to expect. Was I going to see a Speilberg stage production or consuming an appetizer for sleep medicine? So, with a full belly from a tasty Buckhead diner and a few extra bottled waters, I eagerly trucked it on up to see the raging battle of comments originating from the performance of the play, "Steel Magnolias".

Now, I saw the movie - yes, I know it was a chick-flick. Rated "S" for sap. One doesn't have to inform me of this. How in the world any male could sit through THAT with a sign of real content and gratification on their face is way beyond me, but I am man enough to admit I have seen the film - well, maybe twice. So I went into this little project with a sense of keen intelect and mass knowledge and expressed familiarity synonomous with that of reading the Hulk growing up and frantically awaiting the comedic farce of this Marvel comic book hero on the big screen this coming summer. Well, enough banter - here is the real poop on the scoop.

First, I will steadfastly admit that the first five minutes of the production had me mesmorized - well, one of the actresses did. Wendy Daniels. How she fit into that blouse must have involved some quantum physics, but nonetheless, she caught my attention. She is beautiful. Did I mention she looked good? Anyway, I hastily downed four bottled waters and moved on. I will say that for a chick-play, I was actually amazed by the performance. Yes, there was the occasional dropped line or three, and in some minute cases it was kind of noticable, but overall these elite women kept it real. The looked like close family up there. They appeared to have known each other for several years. They didn't really act like drama queens or amateur actors: they acted like the characters I saw in the movie. I wish they had used a real dog, and maybe a milkman to add some spice to the show, but overall I was impressed. The show was not a total loss like one of the commentors had stated earlier, but I actually found myself watching the show. Well, except getting used to the first five minutes, but I won't climb that mountain again.

The end of the play did NOT have my crying, but EVERY female in the audience sure was. Seems to me if that was going on, someone was doing their job - both in acting and in directing. The wet aurora emitting from that audience was enough to saturate a 12.45 acre plot of farmland.

Anyway, I paid $14 and I enjoyed it. Now, this isn't gonna make me want to run out and watch more chick-plays, but I will say that I was thoroughly entertained by this cast. Anji Roe was very VERY cute and had great, subtle facial expressions. Lani Brooks was hillarious in those funky-blue-whatever-the-heck-those-things-were on her legs (loose the hat, girl). Zanny Dillson WAS Clairee. Leslie Lowe (spelling?) as Shelby - had me thinking of that "Feelings" song - a superb actress with lots of potential. Wendy Daniels - woops, back to the mountain again. Amazing what four cans of hair spray can do to a head full of hair! She was sassy, spunky, and caught my attention. And no - I was NOT thinking "Dolly Pardon". Well, maybe in some places. But she walked the walk and talked the talk as her character. But stop the press - the Tony is about to be given.

Denyea Swartz (spelling?). I can not put into words my thoughts about her portrayal of M'Lynn. Her unbridled passion, her careful use of her voice and body language, her full range of emotion, and her ability to bring an audience to tears - all I can say is, "Wow". Move over Halle Berry. Wait for her speech at eleven.


Seriously, setting aside all the above sarcasm and attempt to get a few cheap laughs in a mini-speech, as an accomplished actor in the metro-Atlanta area, there are things we notice that others do not. The carefull attention to detail. Enough knowledge of the arts to know that this is a COMMUNITY PLAY and not a multi-million dollar budget film. The actresses on that stage gave a great performance and actually made me come out of the woodwork and into Cobb Playhouse to see this show. I do not know much about the director's style or what all he (or she) did to bring this out of these characters, but the emotion and the colorful texture and the richness of expression were all there. In some cases, and in some of the acresses, like Denyea Swartz, Leslie Lowe, and Anji Roe, the tonal intonation and proper annunication allowed me to clearly hear every word uttered.

I would recommend this play to anyone who would not care for this kind of play, but wants an evening of consuming and enveloping entertainment. And if this type of play is your cup of tea - shame on you for not already seeing it.

These are just my opinions, and NO - I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE SHOW.

I will probably go again just to see Wendy Daniels....;)

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