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Bell, Book, and Candle

a Comedy
by John Van Druten

COMPANY : Neighborhood Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Neighborhood Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 1063

SHOWING : October 07, 2004 - October 31, 2004



It's the classic boy meets girl story. The only problem is the girl happens to be a witch.

In Bell, Book and Candle, Gillian Holroyd casts a spell on single publisher Shepherd Henderson to make him fall in love with her. But witches cannot fall in love, and ultimately Gillian must choose between witchcraft and human love.

"Audiences will see some 21st century touches to this 50 year-old classic," says director Deadra Moore. "We have a very talented cast and audiences will definitely enjoy the plot twists and turns."

Director Deadra Moore
Costume Designer Erin Greenway
LIghting Designer Mitch Marcus
Stage Manager Steve Thompson
Miss Queenie Holroyd Coco Chalfant
Sidney Redlitch Charles Green
Nicky Holroyd Eric Roach
Gillian Holroyd Shawna Tucker
Shep Henderson Jason Vaughn
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production


Two thumbs down
by Hank
Saturday, October 30, 2004
I figured with such mixed reviews, i would check this "halloween" fare out. If you haven't gotten tickets yet, are debating about seeing this show, and think this might be a good idea - go find something else to do instead (for much less). Community theatre or not - I would expect that for $20 seat, a 25 yr old theatre would produce better theatre. Bad set (I disagree with the reviewer who said this was a great set - puhleeze!!! cheap, lame, uninspired). Good costumes. Bad script. And the acting? Eric R. - dreadful. Complete overacting. Too young for the part. Shawna Tucker - not right for the part. Bland, austere, lacking in any sex appeal (am I the only one who has seen the film?? A bombshell was cast in the lead in the film, a femme fatale, sensual Kim Novak!! bad casting, very bad!). Coco Chalfant - good - definitely better than most. Charles Green I enjoyed quite alot. I would like to see him in more. He definitely brought some oomph to an otherwise flat play. Jason Vaughn - he does have potential. He does have appeal. He fits the time period well. But he is also an actor with some very bad habits. No chemistry between he and Ms Tucker, I agree. In fact, I was repulsed by their amorous scenes. No one except for Mr green and Ms Chalfant (most of the time) seemed to commit to their actions or their vocalities to the full 100%. May I also say, bad form for actors to be seen in character clothes outside the theatre out of character? I used to live in Chicago - fabulous theatre for the most part. Very well trained actors - community theatre or not. I don't appreciate spending $40 on untrained actors and bad theatrics. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A Good Attempt
by michaelo
Monday, October 25, 2004
My girlfriend and I saw this play on Saturday night and have to say that I agree with aspects of all the other reviews here. I think that overall the play was good. The sets and costumes were first rate. The script was not strong and I feel most of the cast did a good job considering what they had to work with. Coco Chalfant was very good and Eric Roache and Charles Green gave fine performances as well. I thought Jason Vaughn was excellent and given better material he would probably be outstanding. I would assume that Shawna Tucker is normally a good actress. She was horribly miscast here though. I did not buy her performance at all. Where Vaughn's performance was believeable and sincere, she seemed to be trying much too hard. Overall, my girlfriend and I liked the play and we were not disappointed at all that we went to see it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
by Lewis
Monday, October 25, 2004
C'mon people. It wasn't that bad. It was almost good. Rather than rehash all other reviews, I will say that I agree with most of what has been said: the set was decent (could have been ALOT better though - lacked imagination, creativity, and seemed kinda cheap), the costumes WERE very good, overall the acting was not too shabby. Highlights: Coco Chalfant & Charles Green were fun. Eric Roach had some pretty good bits. Lows: Shawna Tucker was not right for this role AT ALL. She seemed kinda dowdy, more matronly than womanly. Lacking in seduction, sparkle, and energy. Jason Vaughn - ok, to some extent, i agree with the last two reviews. But, to his credit - I would like to offer the difference between "realism" and internal acting, and "gesture" acting -- his tempo was just different than the rest of the group. The rest of the cast would be comfortable in Brecht, while Mr Vaughn would appear quite natural in Hedda Gabbler or Tennessee Williams. perhaps due to poor direction, you kinda get the sense that Mr Vaughn was instructed to diminish his own persona throughout the play in order to diminish his "appeal" and frumpify himself. The casting of Ms Tucker as his love interest was poor. Biggest low: most of the characters seemed to wonder where the heck they were most of the time, and had no idea what play they were in, or what they were supposed to do with themselves. My wife went with a group of girlfriends last week and swears she had a different impression. From the reviews, I gather you either hate this show or love it. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
I did too dudley
by popover
Monday, October 25, 2004
Oh, I will go ahead and apologize for this review now. This play was like watching a tv show that had alot of hype but failed your expectations. It was not unbearable. It was really decent. It was better than most. I went because it got such good reviews. It was a good college try, as they say. I thought the costumes did a great job of capturing the era. I also thought that Coco Chalfant and Charles Green did excellent jobs capturing the era of the play. Tons of stage presence, great character development. To be fair, the fault might not lie in the actors of this production that their characters were not so fully actualized. It's not a very solid script - the "characters" are just much more strongly written than the leads. Ms Tucker did a fair job as Gillian. Mr Vaughn did a fair job as Shep. But Ms Tucker - you just dont sense that she is someone who has much warmth beneath her skin - nor longs for love enough to cast a spell. She appeared a very capable actress - but I didn't buy that she always bought her circumstances. Mr Vaughn - well, is it wrong to say that he seemed as though wearing a suit was not an everday occurrence for him, as though his clothes did not fit his persona? He has presence, I will give him that - but his mind seemed continually preoccupied, as though his focus were somewhere else, and he went through the motions of the play. I felt jilted, certain that on a better night, I might have witnessed what the first two reviewers saw. But instead - the energy seemed off for me. Ok - now I will apologize. I hate giving poor reviews. And maybe I shouldn't write anything if I can't say something nice. Take what you want from this review. Toss what you don't. And remember, its only one opinion. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
I Saw the Same Show as Did Dudley
by JustAFan
Sunday, October 24, 2004
I have to agree with almost everything Dudley said, with a couple exceptions. First, I think it was a major omission not to mention the superb performance by Coco Chalfant as Aunt Queenie. To me, Chalfant did a perfect job of making Aunt Queenie humorous without becoming a caricature and was the only character who evoked any emotion from me. Charles Green was also very humourous and did a strong job in his role. I felt absolutely no chemistry or "magic" between Shawna Tucker and Jason Vaughn as Shep and Jill and agree with Dudley that the two of them were not compatible for these roles. Of course, Piehacket (no idea how to spell that) was purrfect. Overall, I was very disappointed.

Riotproof--No reason to attack Dudley. He can have his own opinions. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Did i not see the same play?
by dudley
Saturday, October 23, 2004
How did this production get two "5's"? I expected one fine piece of art. Were the actors having a bad night the evening that I went to see the show? Do they give you special glasses to watch this play that I didnt receive? The set was ok. The costumes were actually pretty good. The acting was better than most community theatre. To be fair, the "house" seemed to dig it. But there was something missing for me. Somehow - it just wasn't as good as i hoped for. Shawna Tucker as lead witch who bewitches Jason Vaughn as Shep (a single publisher) - was "fine". She seemed less glamorous, less vivacious than the part seemed to be written. But I would like to see her in a meatier role. Her best scenes were with Coco Chalfant as Queenie. The chemistry with Mr Vaughn, was missing. Just not believable. He was not bad either. He had moments. But those moments, again, were usually played with other characters - not with each other. For a play about magic - there was no magic between these two. If he were older, or she younger, i could buy it more. If she and he even matched in sex appeal it would help alot. Neither seem to be bad actors. In fact, if pushed, or under better direction, with better scripts, and forced into bigger obstacles and drama, I imagine they are probably both very good. But this is not that play. Mr. Vaughn's stage presence is solid - but his acting does not live up to the reviews, and doesn't match his energy. The comedy is not all that funny. The drama not all that poignant. Charles Green & Eric Roach were both very entertaining, however. If there was comedy that had me rolling, it was always due to their expert timing. The biggest problem I saw, was that actors with stage presence overshadowed actors who did not. Blame the script. Blame the director. Blame casting. I don't know. Good venue. Comfortable seating. Good performance space. Just wanted ... more. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
It absolutely DID deserve its 5's!! by riotpoof
The real question is: were you having a bad night the evening you saw this show??? Your review is filled with more jabs, slings, and arrows than is deserved. I disagree completely with your assessment of this play. Shawna Tucker perfectly captures the essence of the time period/world of this play. I for one didnt notice an age difference. Shep's bewilderment and simplicity are gut wrenchingly honestly portrayed. And you know, you must have been the only one in the audience who did not find this play both funny and poignant. I saw this play for the second time this weekend and loved it even more. This play is not supposed to be Shakespeare. This play is a very simple, sweet tale of two misplaced lovers finding their way. It doesnt matter that you disagree - this play has had houses who would all disagree with your negative review.
Well worth seeing!!
by riotpoof
Sunday, October 17, 2004
When I first heard of this play, I thought, "why do such an obscure play?" Worse, I had seen the movie years ago, and really, wasn't all that impressed - typical washes of good guy struggles to make sense of his surreal world were apparent in this "classic" film. Yes, I know that the idea of "magic" played well into the hands of Halloween mischief this month, but why do this play? I have been moderately unimpressed by many modern dramatists ability to pursue the heartier themes of life without coming across as pretentious or missing the point entirely. Curious, I attended this play - and ... loved it. Truth be told, the set and costumes were as good as they can be within the parameters of the world of the play - its not like we are witnessing elaborately beaded outfits, or ingenious set devices ... my focus here is on the world of the play, the purpose for the play, the life - humor and obstacles of the characters. Why do this play? As hoakey as it sounds: because the play captures what the movie did not. Love is an elusive fellow - we are caught under its spell, we feel bewitched, we float through the euphoria of the feeling - then WHAM! - we get scared, we question, we fight it, we struggle with the reality (not the dream) of what that other person is, and question whether or not we can make it to the other side, whether or not we can deal with the obstacles, the meddling family, the fear, and more so the easy choices v. the hard choices. There are some awkward moments in which the play switches gears from scene to scene (could be handled with a good fade to black in film) - but otherwise, right on target. This is all going to sound like mumbo jumbo if you are not aware of the story line of this play ... Aside from a very decent theme and plot structure, I will say that the Life is breathed into this play by a talented team of actors. I buy that they are the characters. I look forward to what happens next, because of their commitment to the world of the play. And lest this becomes a Shep fansite - I agree with rollotomasi (good name!) - Jason Vaughn is superb. He has an air of effortless acting, relaxed, real, and electric. You feel for him, and start wondering why the world doesn't have more Shep's! Also agreed - Coco is a riot as Queenie. Can you say fun, fun, and fun?

Bottom Line: This play is a very good time. It will tickle your funny bone and tug at your heart. It was money well spent, in my opinion. But don't take my word for it. See it for yourself and let me know if you agree. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
A "Bewitching" Production
by rollotomasi
Sunday, October 17, 2004
"Bell, Book, and Candle" at Decatur's Neighborhood Playhouse proves that local theatre is alive and well in Atlanta. For a community theatre, the play boasts strong production values. The sets are great, as are the costumes. The cast as a whole is excellent, but the two standouts are undoubtedly Coco Chalfant as Queenie Holroyd and Jason Vaughn as Shep Henderson. Coco's Queenie is funny and animated. She brings a sense of mischief and playfulness to the role and is totally engaging whenever she steps on stage. Jason Vaughn is outstanding in his portrayal of publisher Shep Henderson. He is charismatic and intriguing. Shep is a character that could easily come across as flat and uninteresting without the right actor playing him, but Jason breathes life into the role and makes it his own. He creates a character that the audience can easily relate to and empathize with. With his stage presence, I suspect we will see great things from Jason in the future. The show runs for another couple of weeks and I highly recommend that everyone put it on their calendar and go check it out. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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