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A Sunday Afternoon At Loehmann's

CATEGORY : COMEDY
by John Gibson and Anthony Morris

COMPANY : Ansley Park Playhouse [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Ansley Park Playhouse [WEBSITE]
ID# 3406

SHOWING : March 00, 2009 - July 00, 2009

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PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION


CAST & CREW LIST
Writer/Composer John Gibson
Writer/Composer Anthony Morris
Director John Gibson
Lauren Jasmine Burke
Ben Kelly David Carr
Carol Wendy Fulton-Adams
Susan/Various Roles Amy Gandolfi
Diane Shannon Kraiger
Josh Justin Miles
Angela Angela Mitchell
Bob Alan Phelps
Brenda Pam Sharpe
Aunt Viva Linda Snow
Jenny Christie Vozniak
Click to Submit Cast & Crew Info for this production
REVIEWS

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The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
by WendyR
Saturday, June 13, 2009
1.0
My mother always taught me “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” and I try to stick to that adage. But in this instance I feel I need to share so that others don’t make the same mistake I did.

I saw Peachtree Battle several years ago. And I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was fun, entertaining, current, and well-attended. So I will say that I had high hopes going into A Sunday Afternoon at Loehmanns. Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed.

First, the good… There are some fine moments of acting here. Wendy Fulton-Adams’ opening minutes in the dressing room of Loehmanns are near perfect. She sets up the play beautifully; however it is downhill from there. The only other opportunity she has to shine is playing against her husband in a lovely, little, tucked-in “bathroom” scene – one of the better written ones of the play (and reminiscent of conversations I have had in my own home). Alan Phelps is also very good. He plays the aforementioned beleaguered husband/father in a nice, understated manner. He shares great chemistry with Ms. Adams and the two guys with which he has most of his scenes. Kelly David Carr is very convincing as the blind neighbor Ben. He never breaks character – not even during scene changes. Unfortunately, he is saddled with some of the most embarrassingly bad scenes of this play (see below). Justin Miles and Angela Mitchell also deliver flashes of fine acting, when they are not attempting to compensate for the poor performances and bad writing that makes up most of this piece.

The bad… John Gibson announced during his curtain speech that he had been developing the screenplay for Peachtree Battle. It must have been taking up a lot of his time, because this play appears disjointed and frankly, unfinished. Two or three times he attempts a “split-screen” affect without much success. This is a small venue and the “set”(?) is not conducive to making something like that work. At best it is distracting; at worst it is confusing (the email/txting scene could be helped immensely with the use of telemonitors so we could see what is being sent and what is being erased). And clearly Mr. Gibson feels that all faults in writing, direction and acting can be compensated for by having his actors change clothes every 2 minutes. Why???

Pam Sharpe and Jasmine Burke both mug so big and so often, they appear to be begging the audience for laughs (which they did not get when I was there). Shannon Kraiger and Linda Snow rush through some of the potentially better moments of the show. But the worst culprit here is Christie Vozniak as Jenny. This girl takes the machine gun approach to acting. Her lines are spoken in a non-stop, unintelligible rattle with no regard to the other actors on stage. Her movements are choppy and sloppy. (Was she hitting the blind guy in the face on purpose? Had he really been a blind war veteran, he probably would have hit her back!) Consequently, we care nothing for her character and the whole point of the story is gone. And please, someone, pin her hair out of her face.

The ugly… Here is were I address the truly gratuitous nudity. The program and website both mention partial nudity on the part of the women. There is nothing partial about the scene where Ben lets it “all hang out”. Apparently, Mr. Gibson felt the play needed some help at this point, so he panders to the women and gay men in his audience. He had better hope that Mr. Carr does not get sick or leave, because for some of my fellow audience members… those were the only good seconds of the play.

In closing I must also address the noise factor. This is a professional theater - with the ticket prices to match. Yet the evening I saw the play the noise coming from the actors and crew backstage was something I would expect from children's theater. Please Ansley Park Playhouse, have more respect for your audience and remove the backstage chatter and clatter.

- Wendy Robyns [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Thoughtfully stated by theatergoer123
Thank you WendyR. Very thorough and well stated. I had the unfortunate experience of seeing this "show" several months ago and still curse the wasted evening I invested. Please be warned any Atlantan with a pinch of taste....avoid this mess of a play and spend the money on something useful like Actor's Express, Theater in the Square, OnStage Atlanta or the Alliance.
On the Clearance Rack
by TheatreJock
Monday, June 1, 2009
1.5
For much of the time that Peachtree Battle ran, playbills and websites trumpeted "A Sunday Afternoon at Loehmann's" as the next hit from the pens of John Gibson and Anthony Morris. Well, it's here...and it's bad. "Loehmann's" features a script that steals Southern hooks and plot devices from "Steel Magnolias' to "Designing Women" to "Sordid Lives" and takes them to embarrassing lengths. The show is simply badly written, badly directed and often badly performed.

Of the cast members, Angela Mitchell fares the best, comfortable and natural in her performance. Justin Miles and Alan Phelps also contribute nice moments here and there. But, by and large, the show is full of truly embarrassing elements that contain no real humor or sharp satire- just seems to be striving for the lowest common denominator. Jasmine Burke and Pam Sharpe mug and overplay to the point of seeming desperate in their roles. Kelly David Carr, as blind handyman, Ben, has the distinction of contributing full frontal nudity to the show, as well as a couple of ass shots. Carr's total performance has a certain appeal, but the nudity is gratuitous ("Look at us! We're showing you a penis!") The rest of that scene, with Carr using a frying pan as a cover, has far more comic potential than the nudity.

The scene in which Ms. Mitchell's character mourns the death of her lesbian love (a war casualty), is painful, not because of the character's grief, but because of the excruiciating a cappella rendition of "His Eye is On the Sparrow" performed by another actor. Truly, truly bad-and something the director should have restaged or removed. Just as painful is the childbirth scene in Loehmann's dressing room: Wendy Adams on her back, legs straight up in the air, while every other cast member enters the dressing room, peers down, and comments on her need for a wax job. Congratulations, though, to Ms. Adams for her ability to hold her legs in that position for an extended time!

It's possible to be naughty with style, flair and wit, but "Loehmann's" misses by a long shot from the script, to the direction, to the performances.

"Peachtree Battle", by the same playwrights (John Gibson and Anthony Morris) was an undeniable smash and became Atlanta's longest-running show. Regardles of "Peachtree Battle's" fame and prestige, "A Sunday Afternoon at Loehmann's" is a low point in Atlanta theatre. Lighting did not strike twice. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]
Re: Review of A Sunday Afternoon at Loehmann's by jabberwk
I've looked back at all your show reviews for the past year and it appears you haven't had a positive one yet. The highest review you've given anything is a 3.5. It would be easier to believe your comments if you appeared to have liked at least one show in your history. As an avid theatre-goer, I have seen my share of duds, but there have also been many bright spots. This doesn't appear to be the case with you. Based on your username (theatrejock), my guess is you are the type of person who is "dragged" to shows with the women in your life.

The night my friends and I went to see this show, the theatre was packed and the laughter was abundant. In fact, there were several moments when cast members had to "hold" before beginning their next lines because the laughter was so long. I can agree with some of your points - I felt that Christie Vozniak as Jenny was sometimes hard to understand and definitely less "seasoned" than many of the cast members. I also agree that Pam Sharpe as Brenda did a lot of mugging for the audience. By her bio, however, it appears she is also another who is less "seasoned" than her other castmates. And, yes, there were also moments that seemed a little disjointed. However, as I remember with Peachtree Battle, the show is always in a state of change, with things being added, adjusted, deleted, etc. along the way. This is an original play. There is no "off-Broadway" or "road tour" to iron out the problems. The problems are ironed out as the show progresses.

I don't normally review shows here because I'm not a professional and my opinion is just that - only my opinion. I like to read them just to get an idea of what's out there to be seen. However, if I were to give this show a "number," it would be a 4. Just my humble opinion.
A Note to jabberwk by TheatreJock
You're absolutely right: your opinion is every bit as valuable as mine, or anyone else's. I would take two exceptions, though, to your comments. First, I did not mention Ms. Vozniak by name nor did I refer to her performance in either a negative or positive way. Those comments were made by the review posted above mine.

As to "ironing out" a show's problems: my opinion is that problems should not be ironed out in front of a paying audience. That applies to off-Broadway, Broadway, road companies and community theatre. That is the purpose of rehearsals. Audiences on an opening weekend deserve the same show as the audiences of a closing weekend...or any where in-between. The performance of "Loehmann's" I attended was almost two months from its opening--plenty of time to "iron out" problems--but once again, performances are not the place to iron out problems. That's unfair to a paying audience. But that's just my opinion. I'm sure the folks involved with "Loehmann's" appreciate your kind defense of their show and your high rating.
A Note to jabberwk by TheatreJock
You're absolutely right: your opinion is every bit as valuable as mine, or anyone else's. I would take two exceptions, though, to your comments. First, I did not mention Ms. Vozniak by name nor did I refer to her performance in either a negative or positive way. Those comments were made by the review posted above mine.

As to "ironing out" a show's problems: my opinion is that problems should not be ironed out in front of a paying audience. That applies to off-Broadway, Broadway, road companies and community theatre. That is the purpose of rehearsals. Audiences on an opening weekend deserve the same show as the audiences of a closing weekend...or any where in-between. The performance of "Loehmann's" I attended was almost two months from its opening--plenty of time to "iron out" problems--but once again, performances are not the place to iron out problems. That's unfair to a paying audience. But that's just my opinion. I'm sure the folks involved with "Loehmann's" appreciate your kind defense of their show and your high rating.


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