Friday, August 3, 2012

Harrison, TX ***

(Please click on the title to see the entire review.)
This evening of three short plays by Horton Foote, now in previews at Primary Stages, is not on the same high level as The Orphans' Home Cycle or Dividing the Estate, but it does offer moments of pleasure. Only the location -- the fictionalized version of Foote's hometown where most of his works take place -- unites the three plays. The first, Blind Date, is an affectionately satirical sketch about an aunt trying to teach her visiting niece a lesson in charm before an arranged date. Although the sketch eventually runs out of steam, it is the most satisfying of the trio. The One-Armed Man, a short but brutal confrontation between an injured man and the boss he blames. presents a jarring and unpleasant contrast. The longest and most ambitious play, The Midnight Caller, vividly portrays the soul-sucking, circumscribed life of the residents of a boarding house and the disruption caused by the arrival of two newcomers. The cast of nine (Devon AbnerMary BaconJeremy BobbAlexander CendeseHallie FooteAndrea Lynn GreenJayne Houdyshell, Evan Jonigkeit, and Jenny Dare Paulin) are all excellent. Kaye Voyce's costumes clearly evoke the time and place. Marion Williams' set is also evocative, but falters a bit in the third play when a corner of the stage suddenly has to represent a bedroom. Pam MacKinnon's direction is smooth and direct. Running time: 1 hour, 50 minutes without an intermission.

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