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Moonlight and Magnolias
a Comedy
by Ron Hutchinson

COMPANY : Gypsy Theatre Company [WEBSITE]
VENUE : Sylvia Beard Theatre [WEBSITE]
ID# 4889

SHOWING : April 14, 2016 - May 01, 2016



"Frankly, my dear, this is one funny play. A rip-roaring farce... with witty, pointed dialogue and hilarious situations.

1939 Hollywood is abuzz. Legendary producer David O. Selznick has shut down production of his new epic, "Gone with the Wind." The screenplay, you see, just doesn’t work. So Selznick sends a car for famed screenwriter Ben Hecht and pulls formidable director Victor Fleming from the set of "The Wizard of Oz." He locks the doors, closes the shades, and on a diet of bananas and peanuts, the three men labor over five days to fashion a screenplay that will become the blueprint for one of the most successful and beloved films of all time.

Director Rachael Endrizzi
David O. Selznick R. Scott Cantrell
Victor Fleming Joel Coady
Miss Poppenghul Diane Dicker
Ben Hecht Jonathan Wierenga
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Side-Splitting a Banana
by playgoer
Sunday, April 24, 2016
How do you go about making a hundred banana splits? Take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften? Gather a bunch of glass bowls? Make sure you have plenty of nuts and whipped cream and cherries? Split the bananas? However you decide to proceed, first shell the nuts and peel the bananas. And then take the nuts and shells and banana skins to the Sylvia Beard Theatre and spread them across the stage. It’ll save the stage crew a lot of time!

"Moonlight and Magnolias" contains plenty of visual comedy, including the sight of Danielle Gustaveson and Mercury’s lovely, two-level set being covered in the detritus of five solid days of three men subsisting on a diet of only bananas and peanuts. There are series of slaps, men being lifted and moved from spot to spot, and men impersonating women as they attempt to act out the plot of "Gone with the Wind." Funny stuff.

Playwright Ron Hutchinson adds some discussion of race and religion, as introduced by script doctor Ben Hecht (Jon Wierenga), but comedy predominates. Imposing producer David O. Selznick (R. Scott Cantrell) and irascible film director Victor Fleming (Joel Coady) go over the top in impersonating all the characters in "Gone with the Wind," and Miss Poppenghul (Diane Dicker) pops in now and again to do the thankless bidding of Selznick, accompanied by the repeated phrases "Yes, Mr. Selznick" and "No, Mr. Selznick." There aren’t a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, but enough humor to keep a broad smile on the face.

Suzanne Holtkamp’s costumes and Ms. Gustaveson’s props and set dressing set the time period of 1939. Chelsea Martin’s lighting design, with its cyclorama that deepens in hue at various moments, helps to shape certain beats of the script, and Mercury’s sound design adds imposing film music at just the right times. Technically, this is a professionally assembled production.

Director Rachael Endrizzi has shaped the flow to keep interest throughout, and her blocking is superb. (Of course, it helps to have two levels to the set and only four people in the cast.) Her main achievement, though, is getting top-notch performances out of her cast. Mr. Coady in particular lands all the physical comedy of his role. But everyone pulls together to put the play across, leaving delighted audiences in their wake. [POST A COMMENT REGARDING THIS REVIEW]


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