Sunday, September 22, 2013

Philip Goes Forth **

(Please click on the title to see the complete review.)
The Mint Theater Company’s noble mission to reclaim neglected plays occasionally turns up treasure, but more often than not proves how rare neglected masterpieces are. Their current offering is a tepid 1931 play by George Kelly, who had a few successes in the 20’s including a Pulitzer Prize for Craig’s Wife. 23-year-old Philip (Bernardo Cubria), the only son of widowed businessman Mr. Eldridge (Cliff Bennis), decides he wants out of the family business to move to New York to become a playwright. His romantic involvement with Cynthia (Natalie Kuhn), daughter of flamboyant family friend Mrs. Oliver (Carole Healey), seems to have ended for reasons unknown. His well-meaning aunt Mrs. Randolph (Christine Toy Johnson) tries to mediate between father and son. Her all-white drawing room, setting for Act One, looks right out of a Fred and Ginger movie. Philip moves to New York to a boarding house for artistic types run by former actress Mrs. Ferris (Kathryn Kates). Her drawing room is a riot of bilious color and pattern. The other residents include Mr. Shronk (Teddy Bergman), Philip’s former college roommate who has encouraged him to take up playwriting, Miss Krail (Rachel Moulton), an ethereal poetic soul who seems to belong to a different play, and Haines (Brian Keith MacDonald), an unsuccessful musician. Whether Philip really has the talent or true desire to become a playwright is a central issue. The acting ranges from overly broad (Cubria) to adept (Kates). Steven C. Kemp’s set design certainly commands our attention. Some of Carissa Kelly’s costumes are outlandishly distracting. Jerry Ruiz’s direction is slack. Running time: 2 hours including intermission.

No comments: